Pope Urges Holy Year Amnesty for Prisoners in Peace Message

"Francis has gone further than other popes, and official church teaching, in saying there is simply no justification for the death penalty today. He has called life prison terms a "hidden death penalty" and solitary confinement a "form of torture" — and said both should be abolished."

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Use Of Death Penalty Continues Its Decline In The United States

Check out this excellent piece from NPR on the new DPIC report:

"The death penalty is in decline no matter the measure, a new study released by the Death Penalty Information Center has found.

The report found that 28 people were executed this year, the lowest since 1991. The number of death sentences dropped by 33 percent.

Only six states executed convicts during the year, and Texas, Missouri and Georgia accounted for 86 percent of the executions."



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In memory of Sandy Hook

Statement on the Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Massacre
Issued during the Candlelight Vigil Against Gun Violence at Judea Reform Congregation, Durham, NC
Sponsored by North Carolinians Against Gun Violence
December 10, 2015

By Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Executive Director, Murder Victims’ for Reconciliation

As I stand before you on this night of remembrance, I stand for and with those who have lost loved ones to murder. Whether the acts were inflicted on individuals or carried out in mass, the distinct, always sharp pain of losing a loved one at the hands of another remains one of the most disruptive and debilitating experiences people can ever know. For this reason, the members of MVFR graciously yet boldly tell their often unknown stories in ways that build community among victim families while articulating a clear and strong stance against the matrix and machinery of death, particularly state sponsored executions.

Many of our members, like myself, have lost loved ones to gun violence. Eighteen years ago, my younger sister Jennifer lost her life to gun violence just when she was finding her life. This is what gun violence does: it disrespects human life and disregards human potential. From Sandy Hook to Sanford to San Bernardino; from Chicago, Charleston, and Colorado Springs; from Roseburg, Washington DC, and more places than we can name, the corrupt and cowardly use of guns has permanently scarred families, communities, and our nation.

That is why I strongly support and echo President Obama’s remarks on Monday night where he said that “Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino.”Right now, if someone is on a no-fly list, they are not flagged when a background check is run on them. They are able to buy a gun. We don’t allow them to fly on planes but they can get a gun, no questions asked. This loophole is a clear and present danger to all people in our nation, and it must be closed and eliminated.

So I say to people of all faiths and to people of no faith, let us blend our energy, effort and insight in ways that can end the arms race currently underway in our own country. Let us, all of us, leave this night resolving to place more confidence in arms designed to hold and heal than arms designed to kill and maim. Thank you.

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