Buddhist Richard Gere is calling for an end of capital punishment because he believes it robs criminals of the chance to seek redemption.

The PRETTY WOMAN star accepts some murderers and rapists will never find redemption, but he thinks everyone should be given the chance to atone for their sins.

He says, "The reality is I'm 56 years old and I've never been anywhere on this planet where I didn't find people who also didn't have that urge or yearning for transcendence - universal wisdom and compassion, spiritual insight, and enlightenment.

"I never met an animal that didn't respond to love unless it was damaged; it's the same with people. You find damaged people that you just can't get to. They're just so locked off, like serial killers.

"The yearning has been so cut and so buried that maybe in one lifetime it's never going to emerge. But, then again, you never know. That's why I'm so against capital punishment because there's always a possibility of redemption.

"There's always a possibility that the lifetime of horrible deeds will mean something in a transformation to spiritual enlightenment."