The Death Penalty Information Center 2018 Year-End report: “The Death Penalty in 2018” highlights the erosion of support for the death penalty nationwide. Among the encouraging developments for abolitionists nationwide include:
• Washington becoming the 20th state in America to abolish the death penalty
• Death row decreasing for the 18th consecutive year
• Death sentences reaching a 25-year low.
In addition to these gains, DPIC’s “The Death Penalty in 2018” also raises the latest Gallup Poll on capital punishment released in October 2018. Gallup found that have fewer than half of Americans (49%) now believe the death penalty is “applied fairly.” This is the lowest level of support since Gallup began asking this question in 2000. The Gallup Poll also revealed that overall support for the death penalty was essentially unchanged from 2017’s 45-year low, and that 41% of Americans said they oppose the death penalty.
The midterm elections also bought encouraging news for the death penalty repeal movement. The November results saw two prosecutorial candidates running on reform platforms win in Missouri, Alabama, and Texas. In addition, two of the nation’s most pro-death penalty prosecutors lost their re-election bids in California’s Orange and San Bernardino counties. Lastly, Governors in Oregon and Pennsylvania who had imposed or extended moratoria on executions were re-elected, and Colorado elected a new Governor who has openly opposed the death penalty. As these new elective administration take shape in early 2019, we remain optimistic that death penalty support will remain on its downward spiral.
This new reality of declining support is the result of the hard work performed by anti-death penalty organizations and activists nationwide. Our dedication to educating all Americans on the systemic flaws within our death penalty system and fostering a culture of mobilization through time-tested and innovative ways is the beating heart of our movement. We look forward to continuing this dialogue and picking up the fight in 2019.
Once again, thank you to the Death Penalty Information Center for releasing this impactful and difference-making information.