“Todos los cristianos y hombres de buena voluntad están llamadas hoy a trabajar no sólo por la abolición de la pena de muerte, sino también para mejorar las condiciones de las cárceles, en el respeto de la dignidad humana de las personas privadas de libertad.” - Papa Francisco
South Dakota executed 15 men between 1877 and 1947. Four of these executions were prior to statehood. Hanging was the only method used until 1913. The penalty was abolished in 1915 for 18 years, until 1933. Upon resumption of executions, the electric chair became the sole method of execution. South Dakota was the second-to-last state to use electrocution, which was replaced for lethal injection in 1984. South Dakota’s last execution prior to the twenty-first century was in 1947.
2007 marked the first execution in South Dakota since the death penalty was reinstated in 1979 following the Furman v. Georgia US Supreme Court decision. There have been 5 executions in the state since 1976. Currently, there are two individuals on South Dakota's death row.
For more information and ways to get involved, contact your state's organizations:
The South Dakota Catholic Conference is the official voice of the bishops of South Dakota on issues of public policy and provides explanations of Church teaching and their practical application. It is an educational resource on proposed public policies that impact life and the dignity of the human person, religious liberty and other issues that affect the rights of Catholics to practice their faith, both personally and in the public square. The South Dakota Catholic Conference follows the development of public policies and communicates with public officials in all branches and at all levels of governments, not only during a legislative session, but throughout the year.
South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is a statewide organization of individuals united in the pursuit of one purpose: the repeal of capital punishment from South Dakota law.
The Catholic Advocate Network (CAN) is the grassroots public policy initiative of the Diocese of Sioux Falls. Many dioceses belong to a state Catholic Conference that conducts the public policy activities for the member dioceses in that state. In the absence of a Catholic Conference in South Dakota, CAN was created to educate, inform and alert the Catholic faithful in South Dakota about legislative actions.