What Happens To The Federal Death Penalty In A Biden Administration?

Joe Biden is the first president in U.S. history to openly campaign on abolishing the death penalty and win. Now that he’s in the White House, pressure is already mounting from activists and lawmakers for him to fulfill that promise.

Pointing to the more than 160 Americans who’ve been exonerated from death sentences since 1973, Biden pledged on the campaign trail to work to pass legislation eliminating the federal death penalty.

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My Brother Was Condemned to Death—Then He Was Condemned to Covid-19

My brother, Billie Allen, has been fighting for his life on two fronts.

He has waged the first of these fights from federal death row, against a legal system that was not designed to find truth or enact real justice. He has waged the second fight from hospital beds, plagued by health issues that affect his very ability to prove his innocence.

As Billie’s sister—and his best friend—I am more than a witness. My brother’s fight is my fight. His loss of freedom is mine.

My fear has increased sharply these last months as both of my brother’s fights took a dangerous turn. As the lame-duck Trump administration continues its race to kill as many people on death row as it can before the inauguration—10 people on federal death row have been executed in less than six months, with three more execution dates scheduled before January 20—Billie’s name could be called at any time. And on December 16, as Covid-19 continued to rip through prisons, including federal death row, I received a phone call from my brother: Billie had tested positive for the virus.

When I heard the news, my stomach sank.

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US Carries Out Rare Execution During Presidential Transition

The Trump administration on Thursday carried out its ninth federal execution of the year and the first during a presidential lame-duck period in 130 years, putting to death a Texas street-gang member for his role in the slayings of a religious couple from Iowa more than two decades ago.

Four more federal executions, including one Friday, are planned in the weeks before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The case of Brandon Bernard, who received a lethal injection of phenobarbital inside a death chamber at a U.S. prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, was a rare execution of a person who was in his teens when his crime was committed.

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Trump’s Cruel And Unusual Parting Gift: A Spree Of Federal Executions

When Yusuf Ahmed Nur, a professor at Indiana University, was asked to administer last rites to federal death row inmate Orlando Hall last month, he knew that there was a chance he would contract the coronavirus.

Prisons are known hot spots for the virus as they’re often crowded, have poor ventilation, and are filled with aging, medically vulnerable individuals. At the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, where federal executions are carried out, at least 188 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and three have died. And yet these executions — which bring together dozens of correctional staff and witnesses, many of whom have traveled from out of state — are still being carried out, despite the danger of spreading the virus.

“I knew it was going to be a big risk,” Nur told HuffPost. “But I felt like it was worth the sacrifice.”

On Nov. 19, Nur spent more than five hours at the prison complex awaiting Hall’s execution, housed in a small, windowless room with other witnesses. When it was time for Hall to be put to death, Nur entered the chamber to administer the last rites, reciting a prayer from the Quran. He stood close to the two executioners, both of whom were unmasked. Less than a week later, Nur tested positive for the coronavirus.

He believes that he contracted the virus at the prison, as he was strictly isolating from others at the time.

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Janet Jackson

Janet is a survivor in a system that fails women in far too many ways.

Parole Illinois is pushing for policy changes that help reverse cycles of violence and incarceration and give people like Janet fair chances to be reviewed for release. 

With your help, we can bring the story of Janet and others like her to a wider audience and gain support for a system of Earned Discretionary Reentry that provides our loved ones opportunities to finally come home.

Make a gift to Parole Illinois this season so we have the resources to pass Earned Discretionary Reentry in Illinois.

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#SupportParoleIllinois

131 Mile Walk Supporting Clemency For Julius Jones

A collective of supporters for Julius Jones will walk 131 miles from the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City.

Beginning 5AM

December 31st

The walk will end on January 3 in McAlester, where Jones has been on death row for over 20 years.

Jabee Williams, Francie Ekwerekwu, Irv Roland, Cody Bass and Jess Eddy have joined a chorus of 6 million voices demanding Justice For Julius.

The Radical Humanness Of Norway’s Halden Prison

To anyone familiar with the American correctional system, Halden seems alien.

Its modern, cheerful and well-­appointed facilities, the relative freedom of movement it offers, its quiet and peaceful atmosphere — these qualities are so out of sync with the forms of imprisonment found in the United States that you could be forgiven for doubting whether Halden is a prison at all. It is, of course, but it is also something more: the physical expression of an entire national philosophy about the relative merits of punishment and forgiveness.

The treatment of inmates at Halden is wholly focused on helping to prepare them for a life after they get out. Not only is there no death penalty in Norway; there are no life sentences. The maximum sentence for most crimes is 21 years.

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