EJUSA celebrates 10 years without the death penalty in New Jersey

This month marks the 10-year anniversary of the end of the death penalty in New Jersey. On December 17, 2007, then-Governor Jon Corzine signed an abolition bill that made the state the first to legislatively end capital punishment in the modern era.

EJUSA commemorated the 10-year anniversary by participating in an event honoring some of the champions of the repeal campaign at a celebration hosted by The Human Rights Institute at Kean University. Special honors went to former Governor Jon Corzine and one of the primary sponsors of abolition, Senator Raymond J. Lesniak.

Some members of the Executive Committee of New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP) hadn’t seen each other in many years and enjoyed the reunion. The team of 23 volunteers, 3 staff (including NJADP Executive Director Celeste Fitzgerald, who is now EJUSA’s Director of Partnerships), and EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein spent thousands of hours for more than eight years to achieve the historic victory.

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Ending capital punishment was right thing to do for N.J.

Anniversary story in the Star-LedgerPublished with the permission of The Star-Ledger, where it first appeared.

It’s hard to imagine today that two Republicans and two Democrats would join together to pass historic legislation on any issue, no less an issue that was seen by some as “controversial.” But ten years ago this week, that’s exactly what we did. And we kicked off a bipartisan trend that continues to this day.

On December 17, 2007, New Jersey became the first state to abolish the death penalty in almost half a century. We four led the charge as the prime sponsors in the legislature. We come from different parties and different parts of the state. Some of us originally supported the death penalty. Others never did. But over the course of New Jersey’s 25-year experiment with capital punishment, we all learned just how harmful and ineffective the death penalty really was.

Ten years later, linked by a shared legacy, we are both proud and humbled to reflect on how it happened and what came next.

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No executions in 2018?

We’re closer than ever.

This fall support for the death penalty plunged to its lowest level since 1972. You made that happen. You stood by us year after year, and now even red states and Republican lawmakers are leading the charge.

Will you help us continue our work in 2018? Please make as generous a gift as you can. We need to raise $50,000 by December 31st and the first $25,000 we raise will be matched!

This year you’ve literally saved lives: Continue Reading →

EJUSA Evangelical Network promotes violence prevention, support for survivors, restorative justice, and death penalty repeal

EJUSA Evangelical Network websiteWe are proud to announced the formation of the new EJUSA Evangelical Network. It is comprised of Evangelical leaders – from across the nation and political spectrum – who seek to transform the justice system by promoting responses to violence that are rooted in the values of racial equity, healing, public health, and restoration.

“Evangelicals are active in a lot of criminal justice reform campaigns,” said Shari Silberstein, Executive Director of EJUSA. “In our work with Evangelicals on the death penalty, we consistently heard that they wanted to advocate for something, and not just against broken policies. Our Evangelical Network provides that affirmative platform for future advocacy.”

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New report finds spike in Republican opposition to the death penalty

The Right Way ThumbnailA new report by Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty has found a surge in the number of Republican lawmakers who sponsored death penalty repeal legislation at the state level. The report – called The Right Way – looks at all death penalty repeal bills filed since 2000, using the increase in sponsorships as a measure for growing Republican leadership on the issue.

Findings include:

  • The number of Republican state lawmakers to sponsor death penalty repeal bills increased sharply since 2012.
  • From 2000 to 2012, it was rare for Republican state lawmakers to sponsor death penalty repeal bills. In 2013, the annual number of Republican sponsors more than doubled.
  • By 2016 ten times as many Republicans sponsored repeal bills than in 2000.
  • More than 67% of the Republicans sponsoring death penalty repeal bills did so in red states.

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CCATDP releases new report, “The Right Way”

CCATDP formed in 2013 to shatter the myth of universal conservative death penalty support. With your help, I believe that we have accomplished that goal. Grassroots conservatives and many well-known political thought leaders are now openly questioning capital punishment with great frequency.

A mere four years since our founding, we have proof that conservative lawmakers are also increasingly supporting death penalty repeal. Today at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., we unveiled our report, “The Right Way,” which demonstrates this point.

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Don’t miss this event in Kansas!

Our friends at the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty (KCADP) have an exciting event planned for Saturday, October 21, and we wanted to make sure you heard about it!

Join KCADP for their annual Abolition Conference at 1pm on 10/21 at the Church of the Brethren in McPherson. You’ll hear Kansans speak about the social, economic, political, and psychological costs of the death penalty in “The Kansas Death Penalty: What a Waste, 2017!”

The four panelists each have personal experience with and a unique perspective to share on the death penalty: Continue Reading →

Did you know?

Did you know that Florida has second largest death row in the country? If you care about ending the death penalty, Florida is ground zero.

Florida also has the highest number of known wrongful convictions. And its death penalty is in chaos, with hundreds of old cases in sentencing limbo after recent court rulings.

It’s shameful. Florida is throwing millions of dollars behind the relentless pursuit of executions while communities lack resources to prevent and heal from violence.

Your help is needed to help demonstrate that Floridians want safety, healing, and justice – not the death penalty. A gift of $25, $50, $75, or even $100 today will make sure survivors of Florida’s broken system are heard!

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Tell the Governor: No more executions!

Florida: No More Executions!Last month, after years of uncertainty, Florida resumed executions. But there are still serious concerns surrounding the fairness of the state’s death penalty system, and the legitimacy of hundreds of death sentences remains in question.

In the midst of this chaos, Florida shouldn’t be executing at all. Send an email to Governor Rick Scott today and tell him to halt executions.


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We carry the stories with us in our fight towards justice | Reimagining Justice This Month

Reimagining Justice This Month highlights stories about effective responses to violence – responses that disrupt cycles of violence, heal trauma, and address structural racism.

In honor of National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims (Sept 25), EJUSA’s staff extend deep-filled gratitude to the hundreds of family members of murder victims we have had the privilege to work with for the last 25+ years. We honor those loved ones you’ve lost and the stories you have shared with us. We carry them with us in our fight towards justice and healing for all. Read some of the stories about our work with families of homicide victims.

“Help The Trace Report on America’s Ignored Population of Gunshot Survivors,”The Trace
As part of its efforts to report on gun violence and its survivors, The Trace has pulled together a survey to try to help determine what services survivors need and which of those services they have trouble accessing. If you are the survivor of gun violence, please take a moment to fill out this survey, or if you know someone who has survived a gunshot wound, please pass this along. Continue Reading →