"Ending the death penalty would be one important step away from a culture of death and toward building a culture of life.”Click to Visit the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty website !
A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005
There you will find resources to help you learn about the Catholic Church’s teaching and action to end the use of the death penalty in the United States. The Catholic bishops in the United States have been calling for an end to the use of the death penalty for more than twenty-five years. In 2005, they invited Catholics to join them in an ongoing “Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty.” Please explore the opportunities to participate in this important effort to contribute toward building a culture of life.
The Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty web page includes up-to-date information and useful resources for Catholics. The web page is not an official project of the United States Catholic bishops but you may find it helpful.
Some Facts About the Death Penalty
- 35 states have the death penalty; 15 do not.
- Recent Supreme Court decisions have limited the use of the death penalty by declaring it unconstitutional to execute persons with mental retardation and juveniles under the age of 18, or to impose the death penalty when no murder occurred or was intended. The court has also ruled that defendants are entitled to have a jury decide whether to impose the death penalty.
- Approximately 3300 inmates are on death row in 35 state, military, and federal prisons.
- Since 1973, there have been 139 exonerations of death row inmates.
- Since 1976, there have been a total of 1,193 executions in the United States, including 5 in the first few weeks of 2010.
- The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life (L.A. Times, March 6, 2005). In Indiana, the total costs of the death penalty exceed the complete costs of life without parole by about 38 percent, assuming that 20 percent of death sentences are overturned and reduced to life (Indiana Criminal Law Study Commission, January 10, 2002).