Protesters gather at Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex opposing Death Penalty

Federal executions are set to resume next week. They are scheduled for July 13th, July 15th, and July 17th. A small local group gathered outside the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute Monday afternoon to protest the resumption of the death penalty.

Posted: Jul 6, 2020 7:07 PM
Updated: Jul 14, 2020 9:57 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Federal executions are set to resume next week right here in Terre Haute. This has caused a national discussion on the ethics of the death penalty. On Monday afternoon, local and statewide protestors made a stance against it, and for them, it goes beyond morality.

Local members of the community, like the Sisters of Providence and the Terre Haute NAACP, gathered outside the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex early Monday afternoon. Those in attendance said, their message is simple--abolish the death penalty.

Members of state agencies joined those from Terre Haute to make their voices heard. Co-Director of Death Penalty Action Abraham Bonowitx says the death penalty is simply bad policy--especially in the middle of a global pandemic.

"It's so unnecessary and now it's even more dangerous for everybody involved," Bonowitx explained, "They're going to go into the prisons, where we know COVID-19 is a huge problem, and bring all of this to Terre Haute and spread it around."

Justice promoter for the Sisters of Providence Barbara Battista shared her concerns as well. She says that federal executions are totally inadmissible, and there is nothing that we gain from the death penalty.

"In fact, we lose our moral compass whenever we support executions," Sister Battista said, "Adding violence on top of violence during this pandemic is totally unconscionable."

Protestors actually began their demonstration on Federal Prison property. However, Federal Prison employees had them move to the edge of State Road 63 off of their property. That prompted Karen Burkhart of Amnesty International to end the press conference with this message.

"This does not somehow mean that we are soft on crime," Burkhart said, "But it does mean that we are strong on the ultimate dignity of human life."

Protestors say the week of the executions, they encourage symbolic demonstrations rather than mass, in-person demonstrations. This ensures safety as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 panemic.

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