Information and insights about why to abolish the death penalty

Since 1987 I have invested a huge amount of time and effort into strengthening the movement to abolish the death penalty.  I’m attaching something I wrote that directly addresses the concerns of people who support the death penalty and explains why we do not need it at all.  Here is the document whose usefulness I explain below:  Death Penalty Fails its Promises and Causes More Problems Instead


I use a three-step process that I’ve used when devising outreach strategies for various issues:

  1. The current public policy fails to solve the problem it purports to solve.
  2. The current policy actually makes problems worse.
  3. Our proposed alternative would serve the public interest.


This three-step process is something I address in my series of 6 free online workshops that help people strengthen their skills and strategies for organizing grassroots movements on any issue.


I like to develop outreach strategies and materials to communicate with different audiences and constituencies.  I have summarized the attached three-step message into the three-minute time limit for speaking to Washington State legislative committees considering legislation to abolish the death penalty.


The complete document I’m attaching here is useful for several kinds of persons:

  • The logical three-step flow and the information and insights can help people speak and write effectively to convince people to work to abolish the death penalty.  Knowing these “talking points” can help your outreach.
  • Mostly I am addressing people who feel attached to keeping the death penalty for the usual reasons (deterrence, a “balancing” kind of justice, victims’ families, saving money, etc.) and helping those people see those reasons are not valid.  Facts #1 and #3 especially do this.
  • Fact #2 helps thoughtful people – and people who care about social justice – see that abolishing the death penalty fits into their ethics and concerns.
  • Fact #3 directly addresses people whose fear keeps them trapped in support of the death penalty.  Fear is a huge obstacle, so our outreach needs to address it strategically.  My information in Fact #3 lets people feel safe in letting go of the death penalty.


About GlenAnderson 1515 Articles
Since the late 1960s Glen Anderson has devoted his life to working as a volunteer for peace, nonviolence, social justice, and progressive political issues. He has worked through many existing organizations and started several. Over the years he has worked especially for such wide-ranging goals as making peace with Vietnam, eliminating nuclear weapons, converting from a military economy to a peacetime economy, abolishing the death penalty, promoting nonviolence at all levels throughout society, and helping people organize and strategize for grassroots movements to solve many kinds of problems. He writes, speaks, and conducts training workshops on a wide variety of topics. Since 1987 he has produced and hosted a one-hour cable TV interview program on many kinds of issues. Since 2017 he has blogged at He lives in Lacey near Olympia WA. You can reach him at (360) 491-9093