Debbie Morris , Sister Helen Prejean and Rabbi Elie Spitz —
Reflections on the Death Penalty in America

The American public supports the principle of capital punishment, but there is a growing consensus among Jewish and Christian thinkers — across traditional liberal/conservative lines — that it should be abolished in this country or suspended while the system for imposing it is made more just. Reflections on justice, forgiveness, and the nature of God shed new light on America's death penalty debate.

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Debbie Morris

is author of Forgiving the Dead Man Walking.

is a lecturer, community activist, and author of Dead Man Walking.

is author, teacher of Jewish Law at the University of Judaism, and rabbi of Congregation B'nai Israel.

Selected Audio

Web-Exclusive Audio

Listen to Krista's extended conversations with civil rights pioneer Joseph Lowery, author Debbie Morris, and minister and relative of an executed murderer, Sarah Griffith.

SoundSeen (our multimedia stories)

Photo Essay

Images of Angola Penitentiary's death row.

Selected Readings

Moratorium on Executions

Read the 2000 press release of former Illinois governor, George Ryan, detailing his reasons for the temporary stay on the death penalty in Illinois.

Maps and Graphs
View a Gallup poll graphing the reasons why people endorse executions, and see a map showing which states legalize capital punishment.

About the Image

The photo on the left depicts death penalty opponents embracing as an execution confirmation is announced in 1984. On the right, a 1985 photo shows an advocate of capital punishment, Robert Stafford, holding a sign citing Biblical passages, "God's law commands it. The governor's stand on capitol punishment is just: Lev. 24:17, Lev. 24:21, Exod. 21:12, Exod. 21:14, Gen. 9:5,6, Matt. 5:21.

Photo from Florida Photographic Collection

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