Tag Archives: Death Penalty
Supreme Court

UPDATED: Supreme Court Opinions Raise Important Criminal Justice Questions

The Supreme Court term that just came to an end was extremely significant, and not just because of the historic healthcare and marriage equality rulings. Throughout the term, we saw a number of important criminal justice cases argued and decided, and though some of them did not go the way we would have hoped, important questions were raised about the way that “justice” is carried out in our criminal justice system. Read more…

No Trivial Pursuit: Criminal Justice Reform

It is an exciting time for criminal justice reform advocates across the country. Legislators, activists and citizens from across the political spectrum are coming together to make our nation’s justice system more just. This collaboration can be seen in the Bipartisan Summit that took place this past spring hosted by Van Jones, Newt Gingrich, Donna Brazile and Pat Nolan. In addition, the new bipartisan Coalition for Public Safety brings together the Koch Brothers, the ACLU, the Center for American Progress and others and is working across the political spectrum to bring about comprehensive criminal justice reform. Read more…

What Happens When We Come Together

On Wednesday, Nebraska became the nineteenth state to abolish the death penalty. The vote made Nebraska the first state in two years to formally abolish capital punishment. The decision comes at a time when support for the death penalty is decreasing and the number of executions is declining. In fact, polls released last month by Pew Research Center and CBS News show that public support for the death penalty has declined to almost historic lows. Only 56% of Americans reported supporting the death penalty—the lowest level of support ever recorded by the CBS News poll and near the lowest level reported by Pew in the last 40 years. And, the level of support for capital punishment has been falling consistently for two decades. Read more…

Sign Repeal Death Penalty

Taking Aim at the Death Penalty

Controversy has erupted in Utah since Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill into law reinstating the firing squad as a possible method of execution for death row prisoners. Lethal injection will remain the primary method of execution in the state, but the firing squad will be permitted when the proper drugs required for lethal injection are unobtainable. The news has shocked many, who find the method of firing squads to be an outdated and barbaric way of executing people. In fact, Governor Herbert himself has said that he finds firing squads to be “a little bit gruesome.” Read more…

Unmasking the Use of the Death Penalty

Though Purim is a time to for costumes, carnivals and hamentaschen, the story also prompts big questions, like the use of the death penalty in our society. At the end of the Purim story, we see the death penalty carried out when Haman is hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. This use of capital punishment is notable because though the Torah mandated death for some crimes, the rabbis of the Talmud intentionally made its application so complex and difficult, that it became virtually impossible to use. There is no justice in taking a life for a life, and we learn in Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 that causing a single life to perish is the same as “caus[ing] a whole world to perish.” Read more…

Sign Repeal Death Penalty

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Updates on the Death Penalty

Just last month, the Reform Movement proudly participated in the launch of the 90 Million Strong Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty. Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism spoke on behalf of the Reform Movement, which has long advocated for the abolition of the death penalty and reform of the criminal justice system. Since joining the campaign, a lot has happened around the issue, some good news and other less inspiring news. Read more…

Why are you one of 90 million who think the death penalty is wrong?

Reform Movement on the Launch of the 90 Million Strong Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty

Earlier today at a press conference at the National Press Club, the 90 Million Strong Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty was launched. Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism spoke on behalf of the Reform Movement, which has long advocated for the abolition of the death penalty and reform of the criminal justice system. Here is Barbara’s statement from this morning: Read more…

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