FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 1, 2014 Contact: Scott Bass, 919-760-5430, firstname.lastname@example.org
Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation (MVFR): Statement on the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma
Today our thoughts are with the family of Stephanie Neiman. The botched execution of her killer last night in Oklahoma has distracted attention from this precious 19-year-old who was murdered years ago. This incident is but another reminder of how the death penalty distracts attention from victims and their families and diverts resources from practices that can more responsibly address the harms caused by murder.
This execution is only the latest of several across the country using secret and untested drug combinations. It is another demonstration of a broken death penalty system that puts far too many resources into creating ways to execute while leaving the needs of thousands of victim/survivors unaddressed. We sorely need to do more to provide affordable trauma counseling, financial assistance to assist with burial and the many other financial burdens that accompany a murder, and independent advocates who guide victims’ families through the legal process and keep them informed.
Capital punishment in Oklahoma and around the country needs much more diligent review and scrutiny.
Capital punishment in our nation continues to promise “closure” and justice but it delivers neither. Victims’ families deserve more than the false promise of the broken death penalty system. We can and must do better for families like that of Stephanie Neiman.
Had Stephanie Neiman’s killer been sentenced to life in prison without parole, rather than death, this case could have been resolved 15 years ago. Instead, the family waited all this time for a punishment which has only brought more trauma and unwanted public uproar. This is the fate of far too many victims’ families across the country. This injustice must be stopped.
Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, www.mvfr.org, is a nationwide community led by family members of murder victims that advocates for replacing the death penalty with more responsible responses to violence and with more effective forms of violence reduction. MVFR empowers its members to tell their stories, and to educate the public about the harms of the death penalty, the needs of victims’ families and the transformative power of restorative justice to promote a more compassionate and just society.