Advocacy

Meeting during Gov. O'Malley's press conference

Shujaa Graham, Kirk Bloodsworth, and MD Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown meet during Gov. O'Malley's press conference introducing repeal bill, January 16, 2013

Our Advocacy Work

WTI members are the most powerful advocates for abolition and criminal justice reform in the United States. They played an instrumental role in ending the death penalty in Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, and New Mexico; participated in the successful abolition campaign in Connecticut; and worked tirelessly in California on behalf of Proposition 34. They also engage in direct action as part of WTI’s annual Gathering of exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones in states across the country, holding press conferences in front of state capitols, marching to the governor’s mansion in Texas, and testifying as a group in state legislatures.

WTI partners regularly with state anti-death penalty organizations around the country, where members crisscross death penalty states to share their powerful stories with colleges, high schools, faith communities, and local media, and meet privately with state legislators to encourage them to vote their conscience on pending legislation. They also testify publicly in front of legislative committees in state houses from Arkansas to Maryland. We also partner with non-state organizations such as Amnesty International, the NAACP, and Murder Victims Families for Human Rights that also work to end the death penalty as part of their human rights and social justice work in the United States and around the world, such as AI’s campaign to stop the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia in September 2011.

Announcing the Philadelphia Campaign!

Witness to Innocence has launched the Philadelphia Campaign, a coalition of civil rights and civil liberties groups, legal organizations, anti-death penalty and prisoners’ rights groups, religious leaders, and others who are committed to seeking an end to new death penalty prosecutions in Philadelphia. The campaign will engage Philadelphia communities on the issue of the death penalty. In collaboration with our partners, WTI members and staff will speak to audiences around the city in an effort to mobilize public opinion around the cause of abolition in the City of Brotherly Love.

With 184 prisoners, Pennsylvania has the nation’s fifth largest death row population. Philadelphia, home of the national headquarters of Witness to Innocence, sends the lion’s share of prisoners to death row. The majority of them are poor, black, and Latino, and could not afford private counsel. Six exonerated death row survivors were imprisoned in Pennsylvania, including WTI member Harold Wilson, who originally hails from Philadelphia. For more information on the death penalty in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, visit www.deathpenaltyinfo.org.

Derrick Jamison, Dale Johnston, and Joe D'Ambrosio

Derrick Jamison, Dale Johnston, and Joe D'Ambrosio on the 2013 Ohio Innocence Tour co-sponsored with Ohioans To Stop Executions

If you are a state group or national organization advocating for abolition, social justice or policy reform of our criminal justice system and want to collaborate with WTI, contact Mariko Franz at mfranz@witnesstoinnocence.org or 267-519-5484.

Read what our partners say about Witness to Innocence here.

Seth and Herman

Seth Penalver and Herman Lindsey present letter signed by all WTI exoneree members to Gov. Scott in Florida asking him to veto the Timely Justice Act (Photo: James Buechele, WCTV.tv)

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As part of its advocacy work for a more just and sensible US justice system, WTI has launched a campaign for federal compensation for exonerated death row survivors.

Read more about this exciting and important national initiative here.

 

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