Save The Date: October 9, 2024. Annual Gathering of Ignite Peace.

Criminal Justice

One of the most violent and unjust systems in our society is our punitive, discriminatory criminal legal system. Rather than repair harm, this system focuses on punitive punishment and is driven by retribution and profit. Nearly 2 million people are incarcerated and the U.S. has one of the highest recidivism rates in the world. We need systems that center accountability and prevention.

Our Campaign: Ending the Death Penalty

The most egregious example of violence and injustice in our criminal justice system is our capital punishment system, which is why Ignite Peace is focused on ending the death penalty in Ohio. Grounded in relationships with people on death row, Ignite Peace works to abolish the death penalty in Ohio through statewide grassroots organizing. Ignite Peace is a leader in the No Death Penalty Ohio Coalition advocating to repeal Ohio’s death penalty.

Ignite Peace holds the position that implementing the death penalty, even for the most serious of crimes, is morally wrong and a violation of basic human rights. In addition, we believe the system as it stands is so broken that it would be nearly impossible to fix. To date, eleven men in Ohio have been found innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted, after spending decades on death row, and have been exonerated. Research shows that receiving the death penalty in the state of Ohio is highly dependent upon geographic region and more likely when the accused is a person of color and the victim is not. It also shows that it is not an effective deterrent to murder, that it is emotionally damaging to the prison staff who must carry out the law, and that it inflicts further trauma on the families of the murder victims. It is estimated that Ohio spends nearly 17 million dollars a year on capital cases at minimum, depleting needed revenue to address root causes of violence and victims’ needs.

Our Work 

  • Ignite Peace connects people in the community with folks who are currently on death row or have had their death sentences reduced. The pen pal program reminds inmates that they are not forgotten and that there are people who care about them.
  • With executions on hold and the possibility of abolition in sight, Ignite Peace joined the No Death Penalty Ohio coalition to repeal Ohio’s death penalty. We are partnered with a diverse range of organizations and passionate Ohioans to abolish the death penalty through advocacy and grassroots organizing. As a leading organization in the coalition we manage the grassroots mobilization efforts.
  • Since 1999, Ignite Peace has held vigils and has been a presence at every execution in Ohio. The Anti-Death Penalty Committee meets monthly to continue to support specific inmates or murder victims’ families. If executions resume, please check the events page to join us for a prayer vigil in Cincinnati the night before a scheduled execution and in Lucasville the morning of an execution.

Get Involved