Sunday, December 17, 2006

Death Penalty on Hold in California

The death penalty is again in the news...on Friday, December 15, federal Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled that execution by lethal injection in California is "broken" and procedures must be changed before more prisoners can be put to death. Judge Fogel's ruling will further delay executions in California where 650 inmates are now on death row.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops have been calling for an end to the use of the death penalty for 25 years. More recently, in March of 2005, The Catholic Campaign to End the Death Penalty was launched. For all of us, this recent news is an opportunity for teach clearly, encourage reflection, and call again for action in the Catholic community. The materials in the Campaign include a statement, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death. Click here to obtain the full statement.

Death Penalty Focus has also released information on the recent ruling and and message points. See their comments below:

Lethal Injection Message Points

Core Messages:
1) The death penalty is failed public policy which drains valuable resources away from programs that actually increase public safety and serve the needs of victims. So why are we trying so hard to fix it? Now is the time to abolish the death penalty.

2) Chaos and confusion dominate California’s executions making it inevitable that botched executions will continue to occur. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that the state blindly adopted the current lethal injection procedure from Oklahoma and began carrying out executions without any research, methodological investigation, and even more shockingly, without providing training to the prison staff.

3) California’s prison system is in crisis and the execution process is just one more example. The California prison system is turning a blind eye to the mounting evidence of mistakes and simply carrying on with business as usual. The prison administration has known for years that there are many problems with the execution procedures and it has refused to fix them; instead, making the process as secretive as possible, so that the public is kept unaware of the inhumane killing of prisoners.

For more information, visit the Death Penalty Focus lethal injection page:"


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