We ended 2016 with some remarkable achievements:
- The fewest executions in 20 years;
- Record-low death sentences for the second year in a row, and none in Harris or Dallas Counties;
- Seven executions halted and increased scrutiny of old convictions out of concern over the fairness and accuracy of the Texas death penalty system;
- Prosecutors, unwilling to burden their counties with the exorbitant expense, seeking the death penalty in markedly fewer cases;
- Juries and judges demanding higher standards of evidence; and
- A chorus of voices calling for the end of the death penalty that is growing bigger and louder every day.
Together with local, state, and national partners, TCADP is working to reduce use of the death penalty in Texas and, ultimately, end this arbitrary, irreversible, and unfair punishment once and for all.
Here are some of our key accomplishments and proudest moments in the last year:
- Hosted the TCADP 2016 Annual Conference in Houston, featuring Nebraska Senator Colby Coash as the keynote speaker.
- Recruited and trained our fourth class of TCADP Lobby Corps members, who are playing an active role in the 85th Texas Legislature.
- Featured prominently in local, state, and national media coverage of death penalty issues throughout the year.
- Mobilized our members and key partners to stop executions in cases that raise troubling questions about the fairness and accuracy of the Texas death penalty.
- Organized events featuring exonorees, murder victims' survivors, family members and friends of persons on death row, and former prosecutors.
- Published year-end report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2016: The Year in Review, which received widespread media coverage in Texas and nationwide; hand-delivered copies of the report to every legislative office at the State Capitol and to district attorney offices.
- Cultivated relationships with community leaders throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex through our North Texas Outreach Coordinator, presented to more than a dozen groups, and co-hosted two high-profile events with author and faith leader, Shane Claiborne.
- Supported three conferences of the United Methodist Church in Texas in passing resolutions supporting the church's position against the death penalty and encouraging clergy and lay leaders to become engaged in the issue.
- Raised awareness of the flaws that persist in the administration of the death penalty in observance of the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Gregg v. Georgia.
- Attracted new followers and increased engagement on social media (being re-tweeted by Susan Sarandon was particularly exciting!)
- Secured more than 100 recurring donors, whose gifts collectively amount to nearly $20,000/year for TCADP.
- Received a $1,000 cash prize for having the most unique donors in a one-hour time block during Amplify Austin for the fourth year in a row.
Our work in 2017 will focus on leveraging the state legislative session; building local leadership support; amplifying voices of experience; and dismantling the death penalty, county by county.
Thank you for investing in our cause!
As the only professionally staffed, statewide grassroots advocacy organization dedicated solely to ending the death penalty in Texas, TCADP plays an integral role in the national abolition movement. We collaborate closely with local, state, and national partners to reduce use of the death penalty in Texas and, ultimately, hasten the demise of this arbitrary, irreversible, and unfair punishment.
In the short term, we strive to shift the political climate on this issue and decrease executions and death sentences. Our activities include mobilizing key partners, strategic communications, public education, grassroots engagement, coalition building, and legislative advocacy.
$25 covers the cost of training a member of our citizen Lobby Corps
$50 provides resources on the death penalty to a faith community, student group, or civic organization
$100 covers the cost of an information booth at a religious/civic conference or community festival
$250 puts a copy of the TCADP Year-End Report in the hand of every state legislator
$500 supports the participation of speakers and award winners at the TCADP Annual Conference
Here in Texas, our juries can sentence a perpetrator to life without parole. In my mind, that's the harshest punishment for people who commit horrific crimes and murder.
TCADP reminds us why the death penalty only adds more grief on top of grief because there is no closure when we the people approve the execution of another human being. The end result is one more family suffering the loss of a loved one. I do not want that blood and sorrow on my hands. I do not want anyone killed in my name...or yours.
We teach our children that the death penalty is a tool to prevent further crimes, but it is NOT a deterrent. It sends the wrong message to kids.
TCADP provides eloquent speakers, educational materials and consistent lobbying in its efforts to have Texas become one more state without the death penalty. Make your voice heard. Find out what TCADP is doing for our community and stand with me. Thank you."
- Sara Hickman, Texas State Musician
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Even in Texas, the death penalty's days are numbered.by Vanessa Akins
Even in Texas, executions have dropped to historic lows.
Even in Texas, new death sentences have dropped dramatically.
Even in Texas, the death penalty's days are numbered.
• In 2016, new death sentences remained at their lowest level since 1976.
• Use of the death penalty remains geographically isolated. Just seven counties - less than 3% of the 254 counties in Texas - account for nearly two-thirds of all new death sentences since 2012.
• For the second consecutive year, jurors in Harris and Dallas Counties were not responsible for any new death sentences.
• As of February 23, 2017, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice counted 241 death row inmates, which includes 6 women. This is the smallest Texas death row population since 1987.
Make your contribution count by making your gift on Friday, March 3rd from 1:00 to 2:00PM! Help us defend our title as the 1:00-2:00 PM champions. For the last 4 years, TCADP won a $1,000 bonus prize for having the most donors during the 1:00-2:00PM giving hour.
Check out our website at http://tcadp.org for more information. Thanks for your support!
Moving to higher ground on the death penaltyby Kristin Houle
The death penalty landscape is changing rapidly in Texas. Consider this: In 1999, Texas juries sentenced 48 people to death. Last year, death sentences remained at a record-low level, with juries imposing just three new death sentences statewide. Executions in Texas also have fallen to their lowest number in 20 years. A growing chorus of voices - including former prosecutors and judges, conservatives, faith leaders - are expressing concerns about this arbitrary and irreversible punishment.
It has been my privilege to serve as the Executive Director of TCADP since 2008. I'm extremely proud of everything we have accomplished over the last eight years and look forward to taking our work to the next level.
With your support, we'll continue to dismantle the death penalty in Texas county by county and contribute to the national momentum for total abolition. Thank you for standing with us as we move to higher ground on the death penalty!