Student Day Against the Death Penalty
Each year on March 1 NLG students all over the country come together to celebrate Student Day Against the Death Penalty. By hosting events and planning actions, students raise awareness of the unjust capital punishment system in the United States.
SDADP Organizing Materials
- Ideas for Action
- Documentaries and Resources
- Past NLG Student Actions
- Sample Press Release
- Sample Flyer
Past events have included:
- Letter writing campaigns
- Panel discussions
- Film screenings
- Collecting petition signatures
- Hosting speakers like death row honorees or public defenders
- Distributing posters, flyers, black ribbons, or buttons
Those of us who have long expressed moral indignation at our nation's capital punishment laws have recently been joined by individuals and groups who are attacking the death penalty on theoretical, financial, and practical fronts. Some recent developments include:
- The latest edition of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's Death Row USA showed a decrease of 43 inmates under sentence of death from January 1 to October 1, 2012. Over the last decade, the total population of state and federal death rows has decreased significantly, from 3,703 inmates in 2000 to 3,146 inmates as of October 2012.
- On October 23, the United Nations' special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, told a UN General Assembly human rights committee that countries around the world are increasingly viewing capital punishment as a form of torture because of the severe mental and physical pain it inflicts on those sentenced to death.
- Proposition 34, titled "Death Penalty Initiative Statute,” was on the 2012 ballot in California, where it was only narrowly defeated. If the state's voters had approved it, Proposition 34 would have eliminated the death penalty in California and replaced it with life in prison. Nearly half of registered CA voters still back capital punishment, but the margin has shrunk to 4 percentage points. Additionally, CA Proposition 36 revises the three strikes law to impose life sentence only when the new felony conviction is "serious or violent."
While these developments represent the tremendous momentum that is gathering behind abolition, the bleak reality is that 3,146 people are still on death row. The situation is gradually improving, but the need for action has never been more urgent.