Closing the Slaughterhouse: The Inside Story of Death Penalty Abolition in Virginia is a comprehensive account of the remarkable effort that resulted in the abolition of Virginia’s death penalty last year. Written by Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Executive Director Dale Brumfield, one of the driving forces behind the decades-long effort, the book combines multiple interviews and hundreds of sources for a riveting explanation of this monumental victory. Closing the Slaughterhouse includes an introduction and remarks by Sister Helen Prejean and DFP President Mike Farrell.
Get Free and Stay Free: Stories of Inmates Who Found Freedom Inside and Out by David M. Lewis is a collection of stories of 11 people who were incarcerated. The accounts of their lives before, during, and after their imprisonment are searing, but how they found peace and rebuilt their lives is ultimately a story of hope. It will be available in digital and paperback formats in July, but can be preordered now.
In her report for NPR.org, “U.S. inmates condemned to die are spending more time on death row,” Jaclyn Diaz says the fact that the average time between sentencing and execution has increased by two-thirds over the last 20 years “raises questions of fair treatment of prisoners.” She interviews criminal justice researchers, lawyers, and politicians who offer various reasons for the increased lengths of stay, highlighting why it’s increasingly difficult to argue that the system isn’t broken.
In her piece, “Jurisprudence is a Cruel Joke,” in Balls and Strikes, Yvette Borja points out that Arizona executed 66-year-old Clarence Dixon earlier this month despite his long history of mental illness. “Existing Supreme Court precedent is supposed to prohibit the death penalty for people who cannot “rationally understand” why the state is seeking to execute them,” she writes. “Yet Arizona has a long history of flouting the Court’s death penalty jurisprudence — actions that the justices have largely left unchecked.”