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Yesterday members of the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty accompanied Sister Helen Prejean to a speech and meet-and-greet session in Jacksonville. Prejean is the author of the well known book 'Dead Man Walking' and a strong advocate for the abolition of the death penalty in the United States. Along with her appearance in Jacksonville, Sister Prejean will be honored at ICADP's interfaith luncheon and annual Cunningham Carey fundraising event on October 28th.
Read today's article from the Journal Courier on Sister Helen Prejean, and its discussion of the Coalition.
JOURNAL COURIER: Life Force: 'Dead Man Walking' author speaks here
September 14, 2010 5:21 AM
After more than two decades speaking out against the death penalty, “Dead Man Walking” author Helen Prejean thinks public sentiment is turning against capital punishment.
During her speech Monday at Illinois College, Prejean urged audience members to become part of a “new abolition movement in this country.”
The first abolition movement “was to end slavery,” Prejean said. “The second abolitionist movement is for the abolition of state-sanctioned death.”
This Sunday, September 12th, Laura Kunard will run an incredible 13.1 miles in the Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon to benefit ICADP! Laura is the Vice Chair of ICADP's Board of Trustees and has worked for abolition for over a decade. Read Laura's message and make a $20 (20 is the number of wrongfully convicted men that were released from Illinois' death row) or more contribution to help her reach her goal of $3,000 by race day:
Dear Friends & Family,
If you have spent any time talking with me (and you have), you know that I am against the death penalty. You probably also know that I’ve spent a lot of time working with the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty over the last 12 years. I first became involved when I was in graduate school and visited death row for the first time – something I continue to do.
It was on my first visit that the gravity of this issue struck me: that we are the only industrialized nation on the planet that still practices the death penalty, that we are not very good at it based on the 116 people who have been exonerated since the mid 1970s, and – most importantly in today’s fiscal crisis – that it costs roughly 8 times as much money to seek the death penalty as to seek an alternative like life in prison without the possibility of parole.
This week, we want to share with you some talking points that you can use when speaking to people about why it's time for Illinois to repeal the death penalty.
The time for repeal is now. It’s become clear in 10 years of a moratorium that the death penalty system is still broken and it cannot be fixed. The death penalty is a public policy that risks executing the innocent, fails to meet the needs of murder victims’ families, and costs millions of dollars more than alternatives.
We Make Mistakes. There have been 20 men exonerated from Illinois’ death row after evidence of their innocence emerged. This is the second highest exoneration rate in the nation. It is clear we cannot guarantee that our death penalty system will not make a fatal mistake and take an innocent life.
Too Expensive. Since its creation in 1999, we’ve spent well over $100 million dollars on the Capital Litigation Trust Fund. We can’t afford to spend millions on the death penalty when other vital services are being cut.
Ignores the Needs of Murder Victims’ Families. While victims’ services in Illinois are underfunded, which hurts all murder victims, we spend millions of dollars on a death penalty system that affects less than 1% of murders. Those victims’ families that have capital cases endure excessively long and publicized trials then are forced to wait for years and years for an execution – if one comes at all.
Doesn’t Stop Crime! In a 2009 National survey, police chiefs ranked the death penalty dead last in terms of effective tools to prevent violent crime. Study after study shows the death penalty does not deter crime. If we’re serious about stopping crime, we should invest in tools that work – the death penalty doesn’t.
For more detailed reasons it's time to Repeal the Death Penalty, visit our page: http://www.icadp.org/content/why-repeal-death-penalty
In September, ICADP will launch the first of two fall speaking tours titled “Beyond Repair: True Stories of Illinois’ Flawed Death Penalty," aimed at revisiting the issue of the death penalty ten years after the moratorium.
With tour stops in six suburban cities, these live presentations will feature compelling testimony of men who were wrongfully convicted and later freed from Illinois' death row, like Randy Steidl of Charleston, Illinois, who was released in 2004 when evidence emerged that he had been framed after spending 17 years on death row. Family members of murder victims like Cathy Crino whose sister Stephanie was murdered in 1995, will also share their experience with the system after the death of their loved one. It will reveal stories of redemption, forgiveness, and betrayal from those personally affected by the death penalty.
The suburban tour stops include St. Charles, Naperville, Arlington Heights, Joliet, the Quad Cities and Schaumburg. We will soon announce dates and locations for a second tour in October in Central Illinois.
For the full schedule of the tour dates and locations, visit our Upcoming Events page.