1998-01 Against the Legalization of the Death Penalty

The National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry is a movement of those who minister in the criminal justice system. Our membership is composed of people from around the nation who struggle to integrate direct service, advocacy, and education. We work in a religious tradition to move from a retributive to a restorative criminal justice system. We oppose the death penalty for moral, justice, and economic reasons. We are alarmed at the increasing number of states who attempt to legalize the death penalty though legislative initiatives and voter referendums. We believe that all life is sacred and that state sanctioned executions violate this God given right to life.

We recognize the seriousness of certain offenses against society and the need for society to feel safe from such offenses. We believe that there are alternatives to the death penalty such as LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE, which can be used to rehabilitate offenders while protecting society from possible reoccurrence of an offense. We believe that the death penalty is not a deterrent . We believe there is ample evidence that capital cases where the death penalty is sought and later affirmed in the sentence of an offender are more costly than those in which an alternative sentence such as LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE is sought and affirmed in the sentence.

We as a Convocation commit ourselves to become involved in the opposition to the legalizing of the death penalty in any state which currently does not have the death penalty and abolishment of the death penalty in states that now implement state sanctioned executions

ACTION: The Convocation Steering Committee will send letters voicing our opposition to the legalization of the death penalty to all appropriate public and private sectors of society in any state where legislation or voter affirmation of the death penalty is pending.