The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty has designated October 10th “World Day Against the Death Penalty,” and the World Federation for Mental Health has designated October 10th “World Mental Health Day.”
Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights and NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, have taken the occasion of these two intersecting “World Days” to issue the following statement:
Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Statement on World Day Against the Death Penalty
and World Mental Health Day
October 10, 2009
Today is a day of two calls to action: a call to end the death penalty and a call to make mental health treatment a global priority. As organizations who have come together to form the “Prevention, Not Execution” project, we bring these two calls together and declare that it is time to end the death penalty for people with mental illness.
This past year, Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights and NAMI released a report called Double Tragedies: Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty for People with Severe Mental Illness, giving voice to families throughout the United States whose lives have been forever changed by the intersection of murder, mental illness, and the death penalty. Two months later, Amnesty International issued a report titled Hanging by a thread: mental health and the death penalty in Japan, highlighting the Japanese government’s continued executions of mentally ill prisoners.
The death penalty is inappropriate for people with severe mental disorders. On this day of two intersecting worldwide calls for change, we urge prevention of violence, through effective and accessible mental health treatment, rather than executions.