We believe that the death penalty is inhumane and ineffective. We believe that the application of the death penalty is racist and arbitrary. We believe in the inherent goodness of every human being.
Death Penalty Focus was founded in 1988 by a group of California death penalty abolitionists. Since then, DPF has led protests, supported vigils, engaged people of faith, and worked with community leaders to end the death penalty. From the start, DPF has educated, mobilized and organized the anti-death penalty movement in California.
In conjunction with coalition partners including the ACLU, NAACP, Catholic Mobilizing Network, the American Bar Association, California People of Faith, Amnesty International, and criminal defense organizations, DPF became a national leader in death penalty policy and abolition strategy.
Death Penalty Focus is a national organization with more than 100,000 followers. Through coalition building, education, advocacy and social media, DPF promotes efforts to abolish the death penalty. We work in coalition with organizations and elected officials to enact laws which will build a fairer, equal justice system for all regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
With the death penalty abolished in California, Death Penalty Focus is expanding its reach to help abolition efforts in other states. We are working with our national colleagues to end the federal death penalty and commute federal death sentences.
True justice allows for redemption. With the death penalty behind us, PDF is pushing for fair procedures for sentence review and opportunities for those with life sentences to seek parole.
News and Updates
Catch the latest death penalty news here on our blog.
Help pass the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act of 2021 in the First 100 Days of the Biden Administration
Biden is the first president to openly oppose the death penalty. Now what?
After Trump's rush of executions, President Biden and a Democratic Congress want to abolish the federal death penalty
"An execution is not simply death. It is just as different from the privation of life as a concentration camp is from prison.”
We are not just names and numbers
I’m grateful to Death Penalty Focus and other organizations, religious and secular, that are faithfully keeping my hope alive. The arc of justice bends slowly — and can sometimes be deflected — but continues to bend toward justice… and mercy.
What we love about DPF is that it uses the lens of this deep wrong to probe and attack many different types of inequities and problems with our criminal justice system. It doesn’t replace other efforts but provides a powerful orthogonal perspective that maybe someday in not that distant future will be happily irrelevant.
To me, supporting the abolition of the death penalty gives me the chance to let those men and women on death row know that I still see them. I see them not as the worst thing they have ever done but as someone who still has a heart just like mine.