Download Last Words and the Death Penalty: Voices of the Condemned by Scott Vollum PDF

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By Scott Vollum

Vollum analyzes the content material of the final statements of the condemned and statements made by means of co-victims; he search to supply voice to those varied teams. Vollum unearths that the main dominant topics one of the condemned focus on transformation, redemption, and optimistic messages of connection to others. the main dominant issues of co-victims are extra conflicting with a mixture of frustration with the demise penalty procedure, reduction that it truly is over, and the will for justice or revenge. via their very own phrases, we examine that the dying penalty is neither a calming salve for the ache and agony of co-victims nor easily an extraction of evil and irredeemable criminals.

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Additional resources for Last Words and the Death Penalty: Voices of the Condemned and Their Co-victims (Criminal Justice: Recent Scholarship)

Sample text

Then a prison colonel, the head of the execution team, entered the hall and walked through our midst. The spell was broken, and we stumbled to the parking lot, wailing, grief-stricken, and inconsolable. Society’s retribution had produced a family bereaved, a wounded child, and another mourning mother (p. 121). This can only be compared to similar situations when family and friends say goodbye to a loved-one with a terminal illness (Vandiver, 1989). The difference here being that the soon-to-die individual is The Human Context of the Death Penalty 35 healthy and that the potentially calming thought that the death will bring a relief from physical suffering is not present.

The words of a wife of a death row inmate indicate this reality: “I got a lot of death threats, a lot of people being nosy who wanted to strike out and hurt. And it did” The Human Context of the Death Penalty 29 (Dicks, 1991, p. 95). As their family member is one of the “condemned” being punished for his or her horrible act, so are the families enduring their own condemnation and suffering a fate not warranted by their own actions. The Co-Victims The co-victims’ experience of the capital punishment process is unique in that they have already suffered the most severe trauma in the loss of their loved one to murder.

The Human Context of the Death Penalty 19 must make the difficult decision of whether or not to condemn a defendant to death, to the correctional staff who must take part in the execution, to the witnesses who must view this macabre event, to the larger community which must bear the responsibility for sanctions implemented on its behalf, the strains and dissonance surrounding this most ultimate penalty are palpable. The consequences are human casualties. The Capital Punishment Process and the “Death Row Community” The process of capital punishment is only beginning when a suspect has been apprehended, convicted, and sentenced to death.

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