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.
In 2012 and 2016, Death Penalty Focus and their supporters raised funds to put abolition initiatives on the California ballot. Facing opposition from law enforcement, the abolition initiatives lost, but by an exceedingly small margins.
The message of the abolition movement has taken hold. In 1988, when DPF was founded, eighty percent of the public supported the death penalty. Today, slightly more than half the population supports the death penalty, and a majority favor life sentences over the death penalty.
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.
Death Penalty Focus joins criminal defense and civil rights organizations to seek fairness and justice in prosecutions. Engaging California District Attorneys directly with email and petition drives, DPF shines the spotlight of publicity on D.A. decisions concerning death penalty cases. Working with Coalition partners, DPF encourages promising district attorney challengers who have no-death penalty policies.
The U.S. Department of Justice has resumed federal executions. Since July, seven men have been put to death. DPF is a partner and supporter in on-site execution protests and prayer vigils. DPF successfully solicited a statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urging President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr to stop executions immediately.
Death Penalty Focus has a clear eye on the future. Once again, DPF will explore an initiative on the ballot in California to end the death penalty. And this time, we will succeed in abolition.
When the death penalty is abolished in California, Death Penalty Focus will expand 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. When the death penalty is behind us, DPF will push for fair procedures for sentence review and opportunities for those with life sentences to seek parole.
DPF will continue to promote racial justice and fairness in criminal and civil proceedings. And, DPF will work with international organizations to end the death penalty worldwide.