“All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, and in all its forms, but also in order to improve prison conditions, with respect for the human dignity of the people deprived of their freedom” - Pope Francis #Pledge4Mercy
The Kansas death penalty has been abolished and reinstated three times. The state’s death penalty was first abolished in 1907. It was reinstated in 1935, but no executions took place under the law until 1944. Kansas had this death penalty statute in effect until the 1972 US Supreme Court ruling that struck down several states’ death penalty statutes on constitutional grounds. After the 1976 US Supreme Court ruling that reinstated the constitutionality of the death penalty, numerous attempts were made to reinstate it in 1979, 1980, 1981, and 1985. The current death penalty statute was enacted in 1994 when Governor Finney allowed it to become law without her signature, making it the last state of those which still allow the death penalty to reinstate it in the post-1972 era.
However, even with reinstatement, there have been no executions in Kansas at the state level since 1965. Ten people are currently on death row. In 2010, the Kansas Senate was one vote short of passing a bill replacing the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole for the crime of aggravated murder. Abolition efforts in Kansas continue to press on; there is broad public support for a repeal and many faith communities have joined together with a united voice.
The U.S. Military Death Row is also located in Kansas, at Fort Leavenworth.
For more information and ways to get involved, contact your state's organizations:
Founded in December 1967 by Kansas’ Catholic bishops, the Kansas Catholic Conference serves as the official voice of the Catholic Church in Kansas on matters of public policy. The Conference operates at the intersection of faith and politics. By applying Catholic moral principles to the important political questions of the day, the conference strives to ensure that citizens and elected officials are knowledgable of the Church's positions on legislative issues.
The Kansas Coalition against the Death Penalty is a not-for-profit corporation organized for the purpose of promoting public education about capital punishment and disseminating information about the death penalty and the effects of executions.