As each state moves to restore the death penalty, the old debate is renewed. Experts pro and con testify, but no one ever asked the convicted what the death penalty means to those on death row. That is, no one until Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian interviewed the inmates on The Row at the Texas State Prison at Huntsville. The result is a shocking portrait of the living dead. Many years after its first publication, the issue of ultimate punishment is still widely argued and debated.When "Death Row" was written, 105 men were on Death Row in Texas and another 9 were out on bench warrants for hearings or new trials. The authors taped interviews with 26 of these men, and with four Death Row porters, two custodial officers and one medical assistant. Most names have been changed, and, to further prevent identification, dates were altered as well as geographical locations. These changes were not made when it seemed they would affect the substantive content of the statement. When a statement could not be altered without also significantly changing its content, it was removed. Therefore, what is presented here is a fair sample of the things inmates say on Death Row.This is not a book intended to argue the legitimacy or illegitimacy or the social utility or disutility of capital punishment.The concern here is simpler; Death Row wants to add to the dialogue about what the death penalty really means. There is long time between sentencing by a trial judge and ultimate disposition - death, a prison term, or release. Most capital cases consume only a few weeks of court time. The act of killing takes only a few minutes.
eBook Death Row