Books on the death penalty are many and the literature continues to expand. The following are only a selection, each of which contains a bibliography. Many insightful articles can be found in law review journals and in general circulation magazines. Providing citations are beyond our capability. As so many facets in American culture – race, class, mental competence and age to name four - play pivotal roles in the DP; thoughtful discussions may sometimes be found within books addressing those issues.
Actual Innocence; Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, Jim Dwyer. Doublday; 2000. By examining actual cases of wrongful convictions, the authors illustrate and discuss the many fallibilities of the American system of jurisprudence, which too often give rise to errors in conviction and executions.
Challenging Capital Punishment: Legal and Social Science Approaches; Kenneth C. Hass and James A. Inciardi, editors; Sage Criminal Justice Annuals, Vol. 24; 1988. Research papers on various societal considerations regarding the use of the Death Penalty.
Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the Unite States; Helen Prejean, C.S.J. Random House, 1993. The journey of one person during her work as religious advisor to several condemned men in Louisiana. Through her life, Sister Prejean invites us to examine the ramifications of murder, and of execution, on the victims’ and the murderers’ families and friends as well as on the state employees who carry out the sentence and also on society.
Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies; edited by Hugo A. Bedau; Oxford U. Press; 1997. Third in a series of books with the same title (the editions of 1964 and 1982 being the other volumes, this is an anthology of critical essays and data on every aspect of capital punishment in America.
The Death Penalty: An Historical and Theological Survey; James J. McGivern; Paulist Press; 1997. A review of the development of Western Christian thought on capital punishment over its 2000 year existence.
Dignity Denied:The Experience of Murder Victims’ Family Members Who Oppose the Death Penalty; Robert Renny Cushing and Susannah Sheffer; Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation; 2002. A brief (60 pages) essay examining the lack of respect shown by state and local prosecutors and victims’ assistance offices to those relatives of murder victims who oppose capital punish, accompanied by model language to enforce equal treatment by prosecutors of all victims family members.
Proximity to Death; William S. McFeely; W.W. Norton and Sons; 2000. An eminent scholar finds himself for the first time an expert witness for the defense in a capital trial, and through that experience writes of his personal views of many aspects and persons involved in het process.
The Death Penalty: For and Against; Louis P. Pojman and Jeffrey Reiman; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998. A thoughtful exploration of both sides by two philosophers, each of whom provides an exposition and then a rebuttal of the other.
When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition; Austin Sacat; Princeton U. Press; 2001. Nine stand-alone essays on the politics of vengeance, state killing in the legal process, and the culture of capital punishment.