This work features writings by death-row inmates, family members of victims and perpetrators, religious and political figures, journalists, criminologists, and legal experts, along with information on programs designed to help young people who have gone astray. Intimate personal accounts reveal the fear and regret of death-row inmates as well as the horror and anxiety of their loved ones. In one moving chapter, a mother speaks candidly about the murder of her daughter and how she feels toward the murderer. Alternately grief-stricken and angry, she concludes that it is up to every citizen to play a part in helping our troubled children before they grow up to become gun-toting hoodlums. The book advocates rehabilitation programs, a new national emphasis on broken families and the problems of youth, child care for single mothers, and an overhaul of the juvenile-justice system. Dicks calls for a distinction between justice and revenge, and offers a provocative, wrenching, yet realistic look at a problem that threatens the future of our society.
Shirley Dicks has waged a long campaign against the death penalty. She is the author of Congregation of the Condemned: Voices Against the Death Penalty.