The United States is slowly turning against the death penalty. Its end seems inevitable, but unfortunately, there were a few setbacks this year. Ballot initiatives in California and Nebraska fell short of passing. Despite this, I feel incredibly encouraged for several reasons.
A recent Pew poll showed that support for the death penalty is at the lowest point since 1972, and there was a seven-point drop in support in just the last year. There are other metrics that portend the death penalty’s eventual demise. So far this year, 18 people have been executed nationwide, and if this trend continues, then 2016 will have the fewest executions since 1991. Death sentences are also in decline. Last year, there were less than 50 across the country, which was the fewest since 1976. While there is still considerable work to do, the great news is polls are demonstrating that opposition to the death penalty is growing and states are slowly abandoning its use.
Conservatives Concerned in the field
Over the past month, CCATDP continued its mission to raise awareness about the death penalty’s many problems. On October 31st, our Charles Koch Communications Fellow, Thomas Johnson, presented at the Austin chapter of Texans for Accountable Government (TAG). Thomas discussed capital punishment’s shortcomings from a fiscal, moral, and penological perspective. While he was there, he spoke with conservative and liberty-minded activists who felt that the death penalty was not only wasteful, but unethical.
On November 11, CCATDP’s Ben Jones participated in a symposium entitled “Death Penalty’s Days Numbered?” at Northwestern University’s Law School. In his talk, he discussed the growing conservative and Republican efforts to end the death penalty across the U.S. and the critical importance of this work in the coming years.
Conservatives Concerned in the media
- Katherine Dwyer, our Charles Koch Institute Communications Intern, wrote an op-ed for the San Jose Insider in which she outlined why the death penalty is too expensive and inadequate for California to sustain.
- Republican Logan County Commissioner Marven Goodman wrote an op-ed in the Guthrie News Leader on why Oklahoma cannot be trusted with capital punishment, and he was also quoted in the Associated Press.
- I had the opportunity to write for Rare on how the death penalty is slowly but surely dwindling. I was also quoted in Townhall, the Villages Sun Times, as well as the Oklahoma Welcome News.
- Thomas Johnson spoke with 1370 AM’s Come and Talk It on the flaws of ballistic fingerprinting in capital proceedings and how the death penalty risks innocent life.
- Equal Justice USA’s Executive Director, Shari Silbertstein, wrote in Virgin Unite’s blog about the growing network of conservatives, Evangelicals, and Latinos calling for death penalty repeal.
Share your concerns
As Conservatives Concerned continues to speak out about the death penalty’s inadequacies, we need your help to reach more Americans.
For those of you who would like to join our effort, we encourage you to share Marven Goodman’s op-ed on Facebook.
As more conservatives become aware of the death penalty’s inherent inefficiencies, we are confident that capital punishment’s use will continue to decline. Until then, from the CCATDP family, we wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP), a project of Equal Justice USA, is a network of political and social conservatives who question the alignment of capital punishment with conservative principles and values. For news and updates from CCATDP, join their email list.