Activists Aims to Abolish Capital Punishment

Huntsville, TX | Image by Chuck Berman | Chicago Tribune

The death penalty dates back thousands of years and has been used since before recorded history. Although, as a society, we have moved away from the more gruesome methods, the death penalty is still a hot-button topic in the United States. The State of Texas is one place that people often think of when they think of capital punishment. 

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Texas has had the most executions of any U.S state since 1972. Texas was also the first state to execute a prisoner by lethal injection. This was the method used to execute convicted murderer Charles Brooks Jr. in December of 1982. 

Some other statistics provided by the Death Penalty Information Center are that a total of sixteen people in Texas have been proven innocent and later released from death row. There are currently 205 people on death row in Texas, including six women.  

The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, also known as TCADP, is just how it sounds: an organization fighting to abolish the death penalty in Texas. It is the first and only organization of its kind, claiming that “TCADP is the only professionally staffed, statewide grassroots advocacy organization dedicated solely to ending the death penalty in Texas.” 

The idea for the organization originated in 1995 when it was developed by a small group in Houston, and by 1998 it became a legal entity. Then, just six years after that, they officially set up their office in Austin, Texas. An ever-growing organization, TCADP currently has more than eleven thousand members and counting. They boast a total of thirty-two organization affiliates and that they are “a savvy and robust organization with big ideas and a big vision for change, TCADP collaborates with local, state, and national partners to reduce the use of the death penalty and advocate for change with elected officials. We invite all concerned citizens to join our efforts in Texas.” 

The TCADP has made some monumental progress in the years that they have been active, especially in the past couple of years. In 2020, Texas carried out the smallest number of executions on an annual basis since 1996. At the same time, juries seem to be less likely to give in to demands for the death penalty. Also, in 2020, in response to the health crisis, they hosted over twelve virtual meetings and events. These featured both guest speakers and discussions. Not only that, but they have also received much more media attention. Recent stories have spotlighted TCADP’s cause, such as the expense of the death penalty, its declining use, and more.    

For more information about this organization, visit www.tcadp.org.  

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