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The Death of Punishment
 
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The Death of Punishment
Searching for Justice among the Worst of the Worst
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
 
04 Dec 2013
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£17.99
|HardbackIn Stock
  
9781137278562
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

For twelve years, criminal law professor and leading retributivist Robert Blecker wandered freely inside Lorton Central Prison, armed only with cigarettes, a tape recorder, and the prisoners’ trust, probing the lives and crimes of street criminals. After decades of visiting death rows and prisons around the country, speaking with both guards and convicted killers, he began to better understand who did and did not deserve to die. While liberal activists decry the death penalty as unnecessarily expensive and too prone to human error, Blecker found a shocking alternative reality: in today’s prisons, perversely, the worst criminals often live the best lives. Inside prison, it’s nobody’s job to punish. The Death of Punishment argues, on both moral and practical grounds, that we fail to punish criminals at our peril. Blecker offers a much-needed blueprint for making the punishment more closely fit the crime, and shows why European-style prisons, such as in Norway, where mass killers like Anders Breivik have professional playmates, do not supply the answer. Today, as Colorado prosecutors seek the death penalty for Aurora shooter James Holmes and we await the fate of Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev, the death penalty is once again a national conversation.


Description

For twelve years, criminal law professor and leading retributivist Robert Blecker wandered freely inside Lorton Central Prison, armed only with cigarettes, a tape recorder, and the prisoners’ trust, probing the lives and crimes of street criminals. After decades of visiting death rows and prisons around the country, speaking with both guards and convicted killers, he began to better understand who did and did not deserve to die. While liberal activists decry the death penalty as unnecessarily expensive and too prone to human error, Blecker found a shocking alternative reality: in today’s prisons, perversely, the worst criminals often live the best lives. Inside prison, it’s nobody’s job to punish. The Death of Punishment argues, on both moral and practical grounds, that we fail to punish criminals at our peril. Blecker offers a much-needed blueprint for making the punishment more closely fit the crime, and shows why European-style prisons, such as in Norway, where mass killers like Anders Breivik have professional playmates, do not supply the answer. Today, as Colorado prosecutors seek the death penalty for Aurora shooter James Holmes and we await the fate of Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev, the death penalty is once again a national conversation.


Reviews

'Blecker's argument that prison needs to be more punishing is thought-provoking. Also fascinating is the way in which the author's interactions with prisoners force him to confront his own beliefs…Blecker has shown us that the problem of how a civilized society deals with monstrous behaviour is as difficult as ever' - Asia Times Online


Contents

CHAPTER 1: Forget Me Nots
CHAPTER 2: The Game
CHAPTER 3: Inside Lorton Prison
CHAPTER 4: The Privileged Are the Damned
CHAPTER 5: Killing Him Softly: Witness at an Execution
CHAPTER 6: Life is Worse Than Death?: Documenting the Big Lie
CHAPTER 7: Illinois—Almost a Witness for the People
CHAPTER 8: Home Sweet Home on the Row
CHAPTER 9: Daryl
CHAPTER 10: Death Approaching
CHAPTER 11: For Whom Those Candles Burn
CHAPTER 12: Dr. William Petit
CHAPTER 13: The Hershey Bar
CHAPTER 14: A Death Qualified Jury?
CHAPTER 15: Free Will: Voices from the Inside
CHAPTER 16: Regret, Remorse, Transformation
POSTSCRIPT: Germany


Authors

Robert Blecker is a professor at New York Law School and a nationally known expert on the death penalty. He served previously as Special Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Office of Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, and was a Harvard University Fellow in Law and Humanities. The sole keynote speaker supporting the death penalty at major conferences and at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He is a frequent commentator for national media, including The New York Times, PBS, CourtTV, CNN, and BBC World News. He lives in New York City.