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Laws 2014, 3(1), 141-152; doi:10.3390/laws3010141

Death Row Confinement and the Meaning of Last Words

Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, DC 20016, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 January 2014 / Revised: 1 February 2014 / Accepted: 7 February 2014 / Published: 17 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Death Penalty in the 21st Century)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [60 KB, 19 February 2014; original version 17 February 2014]


Life under sentence of death can be a transformative process. One measure of this transformation can be found in last words, which often highlight the humanity of condemned prisoners on the threshold of execution, in sharp contrast to popular conceptions of these prisoners as evil, remorseless, and irredeemable. Our reading of last words suggests that the transformation process can be best understood by examining the dominant contours of the death row experience, the most recent formative experience in the lives of condemned prisoners before they are put to death.
Keywords: last words; executions; death row last words; executions; death row
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Johnson, R.; Kanewske, L.C.; Barak, M. Death Row Confinement and the Meaning of Last Words. Laws 2014, 3, 141-152.

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