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. Continue Reading →
A Pew poll released last month found support for the death penalty dropped by seven points just in the last year and is at its lowest point since 1972. Executions have reached their lowest level in 25 years, with even Texas seeing record lows. Only a few counties continue to sentence people to death with any regularity.
And now, voters in three states will determine the future of the death penalty when they go to the polls next week. Here is a rundown of the ballot measures and how you (and/or your friends) should vote to continue the momentum toward ending the death penalty throughout the country.
“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.
Three States to Watch if You Care About the Death Penalty, The Marshall Project
Voters in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and California will face death penalty questions at the polls. The Marshall Project looks at what’s on the ballot in each of the states and what is at stake.
Baltimore Is Attacking the Roots of Violence with Public Health Measures—and Saving Lives, Scientific America
Violence is contagious and can spread from person to person, just like a disease. The Baltimore City Health Department is bringing down violence in some of Baltimore’s highest violence neighborhoods using a public health approach.
Harvard’s Fair Punishment Project released the second installment of a report showing the dysfunction in the use of the death penalty in the only 16 counties that continue to use it with any regularity. “Too Broken to Fix: An In-depth Look at America’s Outlier Death Penalty Counties,” looks at the 16 “outlier counties” – of 3,143 counties nationwide – that imposed five or more death sentences between 2010 and 2015.
The report looks at that last 10 years of court opinions and records from these 16 “outlier counties” and analyzes all of the new death sentences handed down in these counties since 2010. Continue Reading →
California has opened an application process for organizations to apply for funds through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA). This particular round of funding is reserved for advocacy and support services to unserved/underserved child and youth victims of a crime. (“Underserved” is defined by the state of California as: Cultural/Ethnic Specific Community; Geographically Isolated; Immigrants; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth (LGBTQ) Community(ies); Specific Crime Type (i.e., homicide); Youth with disabilities; Youth in Foster Care.)
If you are an organization in California that works with crime survivors or victims’ families in these unserved/underserved children and youth populations, you may be eligible to apply through this RFP process.
Thank you so much to everyone who has written to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) about the flaws in their proposed lethal injection procedures. Thousands of comments have been submitted, calling on California to leave executions is the past – where they belong.
Anyone can weigh in – even if you don’t live in California and regardless of your age, citizenship, or voter registration status.
California has the largest death row in the nation – more than 700 people – but hasn’t had an execution in almost 10 years. Now, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has proposed flawed new lethal injection procedures to try and restart executions.
The CDCR must listen and individually respond to concerns about its proposal. If you speak up, then you can impact this troubling development. Continue Reading →