The crippling costs of Nebraska’s death penalty

infographic previewA study of the cost of Nebraska’s death penalty concluded that the state could save $14.6 million per year if Nebraskans vote to end the death penalty in November.

Dr. Ernie Goss, professor of economics at Creighton University, said he was surprised when his study revealed how expensive the death penalty is compared to its alternatives.”If you care about economics, you should vote to Retain the end of the death penalty in November,” he said at a news conference to present the comprehensive study.

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Recommended this week

“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.

Evangelical Leaders Call for Halt to Texas Execution Demand New Sentencing Hearing for Jeff WoodThe Gospel Herald
Evangelical Leaders Call for Halt to Texas ExecutionEvangelicals for Social Action
Evangelicals urge halt to Texas executionBaptist News Global
Evangelical leaders: Texas has ‘moral obligation’ to stop execution of death row prisoner, Christian Today
Several stories about the almost 50 Evangelical pastors who called on Texas Governor Greg Abbot and the Board of Paroles and Pardons to commute the death sentence of Jeffrey Wood. Wood is scheduled to be executed on August 23, even though he never killed anyone, had no previous criminal history, and suffers from borderline intellectual functioning and mental illness. Although Wood was involved in a robbery, he didn’t plan to kill anyone and wasn’t even inside the gas station when the victim, Kris Keeran, was shot. He was sitting in a truck outside.

Even violent crime victims say our prisons are making crime worseThe Washington Post
According to a new  report from the Alliance for Safety & Justice,“A majority of crime victims prefer investments in treatment & prevention over prison spending.” The report, “Crime Survivors Speak,” includes the first national survey of crime victims’ views on safety and justice policy. It reveals their preference for prevention, health, and rehabilitation over more spending on prisons and jails. Continue Reading →

He didn’t kill anyone, but TX is about to execute him

Texas is scheduled to execute Jeff Wood on August 24, 2016, even though he never killed anyone, had no previous criminal history, and suffers from borderline intellectual functioning and mental illness. Although Wood was involved in a robbery, he didn’t plan to kill anyone and wasn’t even inside the gas station when the victim, Kris Keeran, was shot. He was sitting in a truck outside.

Texans: Act now to tell Texas to stop the execution of Jeff Wood.

The execution of a person who is not the “triggerman” is extremely rare. In fact, the Texas Board of Paroles and Pardons has recommended commutations for two people who, like Wood, did not take a life themselves.

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The death penalty’s role in racial oppression

Newspaper article describing lynchingsRace has played a disturbing role in the death penalty’s application throughout its long history in the United States. During slavery, this discrimination was explicitly written in many states’ laws. Blacks and slaves faced the death penalty in cases where the same crime committed by a white person would not even be eligible for death. For example, in Virginia before the Civil War, there were over 60 capital crimes for slaves but only one – murder – for whites. Executions became so closely tied to the punishment of blacks in some regions that executing a white man was, according to one local account from Virginia, a “strange spectacle.”1

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Evangelical leaders call upon Texas to stop scheduled execution

Austin protest to spare Jeff Wood of the death penaltyAlmost 50 Evangelical leaders from Texas and around the country called upon state officials to stop the execution of Jeff Wood. In a letter released Monday, the religious leaders urged Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Board of Paroles and Pardons to grant Wood a new sentencing hearing, saying he “never should have been sentenced to death.”

Texas is scheduled to execute Wood on August 24th for his role in the murder of Kris Keeran. But Wood wasn’t even inside the gas station where Keeran was working as the clerk. He was sitting in a “get-away” truck outside. Wood had no previous criminal history and suffers from borderline intellectual functioning and mental illness.

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Another state ends the death penalty

Delaware Black Leaders for Repeal press conferenceYesterday, Delaware’s death penalty was ruled unconstitutional!

“Delaware’s death penalty is gone,” said EJUSA’s Executive Director Shari Silberstein. “It’s only a matter of time before the whole house of cards that is the death penalty in the United States comes crashing down.”

Delaware joins the growing number of states that have abandoned the death penalty – the 19 that have repealed the death penalty (plus the District of Columbia!), the 4 that have a moratorium in place, and the 8 others that haven’t carried out an execution in more than 10 years.

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State courts wrestle with U.S. Supreme Court death penalty rulings. Now up: Delaware!

Delaware Black Leaders for Repeal press conference

On June 16, 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Rauf v State, a case that will decide the future of Delaware’s death penalty. This case is the latest ripple effect from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hurst v Florida ruling earlier this year, which struck down Florida’s death penalty and impacts other states, including Delaware.

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Trend away from death penalty on display at conservative conference in Denver

CCATDP boothMore than 4,000 people are expected to attend the 7th annual Western Conservative Summit, said to be the largest gathering of conservatives outside of the annual CPAC conference in Washington, DC. Also known as “Rally in the Rockies,” the 3-day event takes place this weekend in Denver.

EJUSA’s Marc Hyden will be attending the conference to talk to participants about Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty.

“One year ago, the conservative state of Nebraska repealed the death penalty, and earlier this year the Senate in another conservative state, Utah, voted to repeal the death penalty,” said Marc. “It’s clear that the death penalty’s support is waning, and fewer conservatives want anything to do with a broken government program that risks innocent life, hemorrhages taxpayer money, and fails to serve society or murder victims’ families.”

Stacy Anderson of Colorado’s anti-death penalty group, Better Priorities Initiative, will be joining Marc for the weekend. Motivated by her evangelical faith, Anderson led Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty during last year’s successful repeal campaign in the Cornhusker State.

If you’re attending the conference, you can find Marc and Stacy in the exhibit area at Booth 516.

Sign on for families of homicide victims

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Dawn Mancarella, a member of EJUSA’s Crime Survivor Network, put out a special appeal today for family members of murder victims to sign on to suspend use of the death penalty in a key Florida county.

If you’ve lost a family member to murder, read Dawn’s letter below and consider taking action. If you know of others who might like to sign, please share this post.


Dear friend,

I know the horrible pain of losing a loved one to murder. My mom, Joyce Masury, was murdered 20 years ago, and my life has never been the same.

You’ve identified yourself to EJUSA or an EJUSA state partner as someone who has experienced this same unimaginable horror. So you understand where I’m coming from.

Today, I am signing an open letter for families like us calling for an end to the death penalty. Would you like to join me?

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California: Stop experimenting with lethal injection!

CA-LI-Action-graphic

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.

There is still time for you to speak out. The deadline for comment has been extended, so tell CDCR that you oppose their fundamentally flawed proposals for executions.

Anyone can weigh in – even if you don’t live in California and regardless of your age, citizenship, or voter registration status.

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