An article I wrote was published by the conservative outlet, IJ Review. In the piece, I outlined the original launch of Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty and described how capital punishment has changed in 4 short years.
In early 2013, my group Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty (CCATDP) launched at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). While we entered CPAC supported by nationally known conservative stalwarts like Richard Viguerie and Jay Sekulow, at first, some viewed us as a bit of a novelty organization.
At the time, conservative-led criminal justice reform was still a relatively new concept, and scrutinizing capital punishment’s many failures from a conservative perspective wasn’t regularly conducted at the national level. Despite this, we ultimately experienced widespread acceptance and incredible success at our first CPAC, and the success of this work has only grown since.
Conservatives have been some of the death penalty’s most vocal opponents recently, which has contributed to capital punishment’s decline, and there are many metrics by which we can measure the death penalty’s slow demise:
Understanding what the death penalty does in practice rather than in theory is another factor spurring capital punishment’s stark decline. The year before CCATDP launched, there were 43 executions, but last year, there were 20. Similarly, the number of states that executed individuals dropped from 9 in 2012 to 5 in 2016.
There is a similar effect relating to death sentences too. In 2012, 78 death sentences were delivered, but that number shrunk to 30 in 2016. Americans, especially conservatives, are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with capital punishment, which can clearly be seen as the death penalty’s usage continues to dwindle.
If these trends continue and conservatives increasingly oppose capital punishment, then the death penalty’s end is inevitable.