Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States

Sister Helen Prejean (1993)

I discovered this book after hearing the author interviewed by Terry Gross on National Public Radio (an excellent source for reading ideas.) Written by a nun who became involved with the Louisiana penal system when she agreed to be a pen pal for a convict on death row. Her perspective on the death penalty is uniquely personal, a one-on-one relationship with a convicted murderer who, after years of waiting to die, asks her to be the one to sit with him until the end. Even if you opt for the film adaptation of this book, out this season and starring Susan Sarandon, and regardless of your views regarding this issue, I would strongly urge you to read this moving account, since it covers two additional pen pal correspondences not featured in the film.

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