Thursday, September 21, 2006

Back From the Dead

Author, journalist and lawyer Joan Cheever has penned a fascinating new book that I have been remiss in not recommending earlier. The book looks at what happened to the several hundred people on death row after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down death penalty statutes in 1972. Here's a description of the book:

What would happen if the United States abolished the death penalty and
emptied its death rows? If killers were released from prison? What would they do
with their second chance to live? Would they kill again?

Back From The Dead is the story of 589 former death row inmates who, through a lottery of fate, were given a second chance at life in 1972 when the death penalty was abolished; it returned to the United States four years later.

Back From the Dead also includes new, up-to-date recidivism data and statistics from 1972 to 2005 – on these inmates who escaped their date with death in the summer of ’72 when the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in the case of Furman v. Georgia.

During the years she represented Walter Williams on Texas’ Death Row,
Cheever always wondered what would happen if his death sentence was reversed and he was eventually released from prison. Would he have killed again? Two years
after Williams’ execution, Cheever was determined to find the answer. Leaving
her young family and comfortable life in suburbia, she traveled across the U.S.
and into the lives and homes of former death row inmates, armed only with a tape
recorder, notepad, a cell phone that didn’t always work, and a lot of faith. In Back from the Dead, Cheever describes her own journey and reveals these
tales of second chances: of tragedy and failure, racism and injustice, and
redemption and rehabilitation.

You can read more about the book and purchase it by going here. We recommend it!

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