TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The Sisters of Providence Leadership Team have sent out a statement regarding their stance on the death penalty.
This is just days after U.S Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to reinstate the death penalty.
“25 years ago we issued a statement saying that we believed in the sacredness of life and the dignity of all people,” explained General Counselor of the Sisters of Providence, Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp. “And that the whole notion of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth just repudiates all that we believe.”
In the last 30 years, the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute has executed three prisoners.
Starting on December 9, five prisoners will be executed.
Sister Hagelskamp went on to explain many sisters have counseled death row inmates for years.
“We’ve been praying for each of the persons that’s been executed. And also for their victims,” she said. “We don’t for one minute want to neglect the pain and suffering that the victims have gone through.”
In preparation for any protests when the executions begin, The Vigo County Sheriff’s Office, Terre Haute Police Department, Indiana State Police, U.S. Marshals and the FBI have all met to talk strategy and safety.
“There’s crowd control, traffic control, access control to the area,” said Sheriff John Plasse.
Plasse explained that peaceful protests don’t present a problem for law enforcement.
“Peaceful protests we welcome everyday, there’s no issue with that,” he said. “It’s the ones that aren’t peaceful that we train for.”
The sisters plan to turn their protest into prayer leading up to and during the executions this December.
“We’re in the heart of where these executions will happen,” explained Sister Hagelskamp. “And so it’s incumbent on us as religious women to do all that we can to make sure that we call peoples attention to the fact that life is being degraded by the death penalty.”