Add Your Signature to the Letter

If you are a student or educator in Tennessee, and you would like to add your signature to this open letter, please email or complete the form below. 

Please be as specific as possible about your field and level of study, position, and so forth!  This will help to demonstrate the broad range of support for our initiative.

If you are not a student or educator in Tennessee, but you would like to support the open letter, please sign this petition on

Tell us why you’re signing the letter by adding a Reply to the bottom of this page!

22 thoughts on “Add Your Signature to the Letter

  1. The institution of capital punishment in the United States has been proven flawed since its inception. In order to eradicate such barbaric behaviors and room for error within this system, the state of Tennessee needs to rid ourselves of this type of punishment and opt for a more up-to-date, effective, and society-changing form rather than this old “eye for an eye” behavior.

    • We won’t prove that killing people is wrong by killing those who do it. I worry about those among us who must carry out the sentence that we blithely approve from afar.

    • Capital punishment is cruel and increasingly unusual in the United States and throughout the world. It cannot be administered fairly, but reinforces racial and socioeconomic disparities.

    • State-initiated homicide serves no purpose for the public good. It reinforces revenge which supports violence. At a time when the world-wide trend is moving away from barbarous state killing. Executions harm all of us, including all those involved with the killing.Tennesseans need to understand that state killing should not hold priority over making 4 year college degrees affordable to our citizens.
      Some of my former students will not return to UTC this fall because of the increase in tuition and fees. I care, and hope all citizens of Tennessee think about the moral meaning of killing, rather than educating our citizens.

    • We cannot teach that killing is wrong by executing citizens. The death penalty just affirms the notion held by many gang members that they do the thes same thing as the government, just on a smaller scale. If the government is cruel to those they identify as enemies, how are they different from the Mafia?

  2. Not enough space or time to give all the reasons I object to the death penalty. But foremost is the human dignity of those convicted, and for all involved in the entire process from perpetration to today, in Tennessee, the lethal injection. We were not created to kill one another but to love one another. Yes one must be held accountable for crimes of the nature that are eligible for this ultimate sanction, but one mistake is too many, and even with no mistakes when the state kills we are all robbed of our dignity as human beings.

  3. I worked on death penalty cases for many years. The horrible state of the justice system was glaringly obvious. Poor people always got the shaft. Watching clients attempt a defense with all cards stacked against them was depressing.

  4. Those who end up in the prison system are often people who have been failed by our system at large (i.e. mental health, educational resources, job opportunities). Those who commit the same crimes, sometimes worse, but have the money or social status to escape punishment, are left with little to no consequences. The prison system is race and class biased. There are other ways that people who commit crimes can be held accountable for their actions, such as community engagement. Research shows that if we invest more in preventative programming for “at risk” children to participate in, we can produce more healthy, contributing members to society that see options for themselves, and are less likely to end up in prison. The money we waste on the prison system is outrageous, and can be used for more effective rehabilitation, such as education for these men and women. We can give them hope for a better future, an alternative to a life of crime. Not all will take it, but many will.

  5. Capital punishment is morally wrong and diminishes us all. Its application, in Tennessee as in other states, is also flawed and capricious.

  6. Capital punishment is revenge hiding behind the dignity of law. It reduces us all to a kind of savagery. These are not the better angels of our nature that speak in favor of this cruel, unusual, and socially destructive punishment.

  7. Leave the judgment to God. Seek to give the person opportunity to rehabilitate even if it is life in prison. Lead with compassion and execute justice. You can do both without the death penalty.

  8. There are so many things wrong with a society having capital punishment that is hard to write only one. It’s biased implementation and it’s inhumanity stand out, though.

  9. Capital punishment is wrong and should be abolished. It also has racial consequences. Individuals are more likely to be sent to death row if the victim is white compared to other racial/ethnic groups. Thus, blacks are disproportionately likely to end up on death row than their white counterparts. For states in the U.S. South, the racially disproportionate impact is even more problematic.

  10. It is immoral. It is used to extremes with poor people who can’t afford the most “golden-tongued” attorneys. And it is very often used on innocent people. How long are we going to just say “Oops” and turn our heads??

  11. In addition to the immorality of the death penalty, I know of specific Tennessee cases where the courts are only concerned with procedure…not guilt or innocence. That is totally immoral and has nothing to do with truth or justice!

  12. While horrible crimes naturally lead to the desire to punish the offenders, we have to ask if we should always follow our first feelings. Instead, I think we could ask–what could I do to stop these kinds of acts from happening in the future? Killing or imprisoning people has not produced a reduction in crime. Creating better conditions for all has. After our blood cools, we can see the perpetrator for who he or she is–a flawed human being like all of us.

  13. Capital punishment is barbaric and it only affects poor minorities. England had one of the most barbaric of capital punishment systems (beheading, draw and quartering, etc), and even England has eliminated it from their forms of punishment. Coincidentally, the rate of violent crime in England is much lower than that of the US. It’s time we rejoin civilized nations and eradicate this embarrassment from our existence. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that America thought slavery was a good idea either. We gained some civility and rid ourselves of it. Now it’s time we do the same with capital punishment.

  14. Death penalty is wrong. Those who end up in death row are usually citizens that have been abandoned by the system. Crime, in many instances, is the consequence of failure of the system (Children services, education, proper housing, racism and so on). The government prefers to eliminate the victims of its society better than confront its miseries and injustices.

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