Death in the Dark
Midnight Executions in AmericaBook - 1997
This provocative book provides a comprehensive history of executions in the United States from colonial days to the present. Framing his analysis within the context of the politics of capital punishment and the role of the media in the death penalty debate, author John Bessler begins by examining the transition from crowded public hangings in town squares to private executions behind prison walls. He then explores the origins and legislative rationales that led to statutory provisions mandating private, nighttime executions. Against this historical background, Bessler reviews changing public opinions concerning capital punishment, analyzes recent court decisions, and considers how politicians manipulate the death penalty as a get-tough-on-crime measure. Concluding with a penetrating discussion of recent attempts to televise executions, he addresses the constitutionality of barring cameras and illuminates both sides of the debate over public access to executions. Bessler convincingly argues that private execution laws shield Americans from the reality of the death penalty and prevent them from making informed judgments about the morality of capital punishment.
Publisher: Boston : Northeastern University Press, ©1997
Branch Call Number: HV8699.U5 B47 1997
Characteristics: x, 319 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm