Our Mission

Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP) is a statewide citizens’ organization dedicated to educating the public about alternatives to the death penalty.


The bases for our beliefs and actions include the following:

  • The death penalty panders to fear and outrage by attempting to provide a simple solution to complex questions.
  • The death penalty is ineffective. Numerous studies show that it does not deter crime.
  • The death penalty discriminates against: the poor, people of color, and people from rural areas.
  • Our opposition to the death penalty in no way negates or contradicts our sorrow over the loss of life suffered by murder victims and our compassion and sympathy for their families and friends.
  • All of humanity’s major wisdom traditions call on us to love one another and value human life. The state should not completely devalue human life and execute anyone by repeating a violent act.
  • The death penalty saps our economic resources.  Because a system with death as the maximum penalty costs much more than a system with life imprisonment as the maximum penalty, the death penalty wastes tax dollars that could be spent to improve crime prevention and outreach to victims of crime.
  • Research shows that despite all legal safeguards, innocent people have been wrongly convicted of murder and have been killed by the state. After 140 death row exonerations, common sense tells us that, because humans err, the justice system simply cannot be made foolproof. Some innocent people will die as long as we have a death penalty. These mistakes can never be corrected.