Support for the death penalty is on the decline in the USA and the number of death penalty convictions is also declining. However, in 2016 seven executions by State governments occurred and five more are scheduled in March. The Death Penalty Information Center provides much statistical information, but it does not reveal the sufferings of the families of murder victims, the tragedy of innocent persons held on death row (see Death of Innocents by Sister Helen Prejean), or the damage to the soul of a nation that continues to use the death penalty.
Death row inmates may experience conversion. In February, Mary Gorske (Associate) heard from a prisoner in Texas who had received a stay of execution. He wrote:
“Yes, this was a blessing from God, He had mercy on my soul and spared my life and gave me a second chance to live! I give all honor and praise to Him! In my last days to live, I got on my knees and prayed to Him from a pure heart, soul and mind! I repented of my sins and He forgave me! I asked him to give me strength to face my death if that was my fate on Texas death row! I asked Him to bless me with peace of heart and peace of mind, and he did! I asked Him to strengthen my faith, and it got stronger…”
Let us continue to pray for those on death row, the victims of violent crime, and for an end to the use of the death penalty. For prayer and reflection Education for Justice offers the attached resource.