Death Penalty


The death penalty has become a cruel and unusual system of enacting vengeance, not justice. The death penalty has been outlawed completely in 106 countries. The United States is the only Western industrialized country that still uses the death penalty. The only countries that execute more people than the United States are China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Egypt (Source: Amnesty International).  


Since taking a corporate public stand against the use of the death penalty in 2003, the Clinton Franciscans have publicized state executions, asking our friends to pray with us for those on death row, for their victims, for the families, and for the citizens whose states inflict the death penalty. For prisoners who are scheduled to be executed, we actively advocate for stays of execution.


In states that allow the death penalty, we encourage residents to write their legislators and otherwise work to change the death penalty laws.


We actively oppose attempts to reinstate the death penalty in states where it has been outlawed.  


We also continue to advocate for the abolition of the federal death penalty.


Abolishment of the death penalty is part of a greater movement toward criminal justice reform that is based on restorative justice. The criminal justice system’s goal should be to foster true remorse and restoration. Execution eliminates or cuts short the possibility for transformation.



  • For every nine executions, one innocent person has been exonerated.

  • African-Americans make up about half of all homicide victims. Yet, nearly 80% of all executions have been in cases in which the victim was white.

  • Over half of the last one hundred executed offenders have been diagnosed with or displayed symptoms of mental illness.

  • Almost all death row defendants cannot afford to hire their own attorney, forensic experts, or medical testimony.

  • The death penalty is not a deterrent to crime. Death penalty states actually have higher crime rates than states that have abolished capital punishment.

  • Death penalty sentences cost exorbitantly more than life in prison without parole and, thus, it takes away resources that are desperately needed.

  • The majority of Americans are against the death penalty.

  • The existence of implicit racial bias among some law enforcement officers, witnesses, jurors, and others allows harsher punishment of minorities, even without legal sanction or intention.


Source: Catholic Mobilizing Network


Death Penalty Laws by State

The following states do NOT have the death penalty:


Alaska - Colorado - Connecticut - Delaware - District of Columbia - Hawaii - Illinois - Iowa - Maine - Maryland - Massachusetts - Michigan - Minnesota - New Hampshire - New Jersey - New Mexico - New York - North Dakota - Rhode Island - Vermont - Washington - West Virginia - Wisconsin


All other states DO have the death penalty, but 11 of those states have not used the death penalty in over a decade.



Catholic Mobilizing Network

Catholic Mobilizing Network is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the use of the death penalty, to transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and to build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practices.


National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is the nation's oldest organization dedicated exclusively to the abolition of the death penalty. It leads a national movement against the death penalty fueled by a broad-based national constituency and more than 100 Affiliate organizations.


The Death Penalty Information Center

The Death Penalty Information Center is a national non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. Founded in 1990, the Center promotes informed discussion of the death penalty by preparing in-depth reports, conducting briefings for journalists, and serving as a resource to those working on this issue.


Campaign to End the Death Penalty

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty is a national grassroots organization dedicated to the abolition of capital punishment. Its strategies are shaped by those who have experienced the horrors of death row first hand – death row prisoners themselves and their family members.


Midwest Innocence Project

The Midwest Innocence Project’s mission is to educate about, advocate for, and obtain and support the exoneration and release of wrongfully convicted people in the Midwest. The Midwest Innocence Project works diligently to give freedom back to those whom the legal system has failed.