Death Penalty Information Center

The Death Penalty Information Center is a nonprofit organization that publishes reports and conducts press briefings on issues concerning capital punishment. The center says that it does not have a position on the death penalty “in the abstract.” However, the center notes that “we have been critical … of various aspects of the death penalty in the United States.” The website highlights problems with the way capital punishment is used.

Funded in 1990 by John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s Magazine and human rights advocate, the center’s major funders include the J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation and the Open Society Institute – which have funded liberal-leaning organizations – and the European Commission. The DPIC board includes the director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and several defense attorneys.

The DPIC site features reports and research on issues such as arbitrariness, costs, deterrence, international practices, mental illness and race. A database of executions is searchable by name, year, race, state and other criteria, and a state-by-state database includes information on death row inmates, executions, clemency and legislation. Visitors can see what crimes are capital offenses in each state and read about those who have been exonerated. The site includes a number of links to news articles, law reviews and other resources, and some information is available in Spanish.

Comments: The DPIC site includes a wealth of information and statistics on the death penalty. Reports reflect an anti-death penalty stance, highlighting the negative aspects of capital punishment.

Political Leanings: Liberal