PODCAST: World Day Against the Death Penalty with Fr. George Williams, SJ, and Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy


“The United States is sadly unique among developed Western countries in that we still regularly execute people. And capital punishment has been in the political headlines lately, if perhaps overshadowed by other hot-button topics.

In July, the Trump Administration announced it would be reinstating federal executions, which have been on hold since 2003. Just a few months earlier, California governor Gavin Newsom went in the opposite direction, suspending the death penalty in his state, even dismantling the death chamber at San Quentin State Prison, the largest death row in the United States. Going back to the summer of 2018, Pope Francis made news when he announced the Catechism of the Catholic Church would be revised to no longer allow for the death penalty in any circumstance.

Thursday, October 10 is the World Day Against the Death Penalty, and our two guests are some of the most dedicated leaders in the faith-based movement against capital punishment: Krisanne Vaillancourt-Murphy is the executive director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network, which is celebrating ten years of organizing Catholics to stand against the death penalty and to support restorative justice efforts. Fr. George Williams, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and the chaplain at San Quentin State Prison, where he provides spiritual support to death row inmates. Host Mike Jordan Laskey talks to them both about all the death penalty headlines and how people of faith can get involved in the work.

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