Tag Archives: Death Penalty

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 The news has shocked many, who find the method of firing squads to be an outdated and barbaric way of executing people.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…

RAC Submits Testimony for Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing

Tomorrow, Senator Durbin is holding a final hearing for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The Senator’s goal for the hearing is to assess what has been accomplished in recent years and what still needs to be done on key civil and human rights issues. The RAC has submitted written testimony to show the strength of our community’s interest in the topics the subcommittee works on. Our testimony covers a number of the important issues including voting rights, criminal justice and sentencing reform, the death penalty, hate crimes, and more. Read more…

Death Penalty

Nevada Audit Shows Death Penalty Is Not Cost Effective

According to a state audit, murder cases in Nevada in which prosecutors seek the death penalty can cost nearly twice as much as those that seek a lesser punishment. The Nevada Legislature just released a 105 page audit focusing on the cost of death penalty and non-death penalty murder cases in two counties between 2000-2012. The audit was conducted as part of the Legislature’s oversight responsibility for public programs in order to improve state government. The audit took 18 months to conduct and looked at the price of trials, appeals and jail time for 28 Nevada cases. Read more…

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