The State of Georgia executed Troy Davis on September 21, 2011, even though seven of the nine witnesses who testified that he committed murder have recanted their testimony, and one of the two remaining witnesses has been implicated as the actual killer. The original judge in his case said his ruling was “not ironclad” and the original prosecutor has said that he has reservations about Davis’s guilt.
Troy Davis said this prior to his execution: “The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace.”
The United States imprisons more of its own people than any other country in the world. For every 100,000 U.S. residents, more than 700 are in prison. In contrast, the incarceration rate per 100,000 residents in the U.K. is 125; in Canada, 110; and in the Netherlands, France and Italy it is 90. In Japan, the incarceration rate is 40 per 100,000. Of all the prisoners in the world, one out of every four is incarcerated in the United States.
Studies show that the death penalty has never been applied fairly across race, class and gender lines. Those who kill white people are far more likely to get the death penalty than those who kill black people. Nationally, since 1973, 129 death-row inmates have been released because they were later found innocent.
In 2009 the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ (CPC) passed a Resolution Supporting Abolition of the Death Penalty. The resolution states that the death penalty should be abolished and urges all CPC churches to conduct educational programs to inform their congregations and others of the issues concerning the abolition of the death penalty and to join with other groups working for greater justice in the penal system.