Condemned to Die: Life Under Sentence of Death

Condemned to Die: Life Under Sentence of Death

by Robert Johnson
Condemned to Die: Life Under Sentence of Death

Condemned to Die: Life Under Sentence of Death

by Robert Johnson

Paperback(2nd ed.)

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Condemned to Die is a book about life under sentence of death in American prisons. The great majority of condemned prisoners are confined on death rows before they are executed. Death rows typically feature solitary confinement, a harsh regimen that is closely examined in this book. Death rows that feature solitary confinement are most common in states that execute prisoners with regularity, which is to say, where there is a realistic threat that condemned prisoners will be put to death. Less restrictive confinement conditions for condemned prisoners can be found in states where executions are rare. Confinement conditions matter, especially to prisoners, but a central contention of this book is that no regimen of confinement under sentence of death offers its inmates a round of activity that might in any way prepare them for the ordeal they must face in the execution chamber, when they are put to death. In a basic and profound sense, all condemned prisoners are warehoused for death in the shadow of the executioner. Human warehousing, seen most clearly on solitary confinement death rows, violates every tenet of just punishment; no legal or philosophical justification for capital punishment demands or even permits warehousing of prisoners under sentence of death. The punishment is death. There is neither a mandate nor a justification for harsh and dehumanizing confinement before the prisoner is put to death. Yet warehousing for death, of an empty and sometimes brutal nature, is the universal fate of condemned prisoners. The enormous suffering and injustice caused by this human warehousing, rendered in the words of the prisoners themselves, is the subject of this book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780815362395
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 12/13/2018
Edition description: 2nd ed.
Pages: 164
Product dimensions: 7.38(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Robert Johnson is a professor of justice, law and criminology at American University, editor and publisher at BleakHouse Publishing, and an award-winning author of books and articles on crime and punishment, including works of social science, law, poetry, and fiction. He has written four social science books, including Condemned to Die: Life Under Sentence of Death and Death Work: A Study of the Modern Execution Process, which received the Outstanding Book Award of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. Johnson has edited six social science books, including Life Without Parole: Living and Dying in Prison Today and A Woman Doing Life: Notes from a Prison for Women. Johnson has published extensively in professional journals, including law reviews, and has testified or provided expert affidavits on capital and other cases before U.S. state and federal courts, the U.S. Congress, and the European Commission of Human Rights. Johnson’s scholarship also features creative writing on crime and punishment. He is the author of one novel, Miller’s Revenge; four collections of original poems, most recently, A Zoo Near You; and one anthology of fiction, Lethal Rejection: Stories on Crime and Punishment. Johnson’s fiction has appeared in literary and fine arts publications. His short story, “The Practice of Killing,” won a national fiction contest sponsored by Wild Violet magazine. Another short story, “Cell Buddy,” was adapted for the stage and read at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Johnson’s independent literary press, BleakHouse Publishing, features creative writing, art, and photography on matters relating to social justice, showcasing the work of a wide range of writers and artists, among which are included current and former American University students as well as current and former state and federal prisoners. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of the School of Criminal Justice, Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, State University of New York.

Table of Contents

PART 1: THE DEATH SENTENCE AND THE CONDEMNED; 1. Man Against Himself: Studying the Human Dimensions of Capital Punishment; 2. Pathways to Death Row; PART 2: THE EXPERIENCE OF DEATH ROW CONFINEMENT; 3. Roots of Powerlessness; 4. Death Work and the Crucible of Fear; 5. Contemplating Execution; 6. A Living Death; PART 3: REFLECTIONS ON LIFE UNDER SENTENCE OF DEATH AND THE LIMITS OF DEATH PENALTY REFORM; 7. Capital Punishment: The View from Death Row

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