Abstract: The death penalty lives on in America, with some 1350 prisoners put to death since 1976, when the modern American death penalty was reborn. Most prisoners get a last meal of their choice, though that choice is constrained by cost and, often, the stock in the prison kitchen. Last meals can be thought of as brief moments of autonomy in a relentlessly dehumanizing execution process. They also entail a distinctive cruelty. At their lowest point, prisoners seek comfort food but are never comforted. This meal is no entre to a relationship, but instead a recipe for abandonment. Dignity is nowhere to be found on the death house menu. Yet hope lingers, even here; human beings, it seems, cannot live or die without hope. Justice, the most profound human hunger, goes unsated by design.
Keywords: last meals; death house; executions; photography
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Johnson, R.; Kelly, A.M.; Bousquet, S.; Nagelson, S.; Mavaddat, C. Death House Desiderata: A Hunger for Justice, Unsated. Laws 2014, 3, 208-219.
Johnson R, Kelly AM, Bousquet S, Nagelson S, Mavaddat C. Death House Desiderata: A Hunger for Justice, Unsated. Laws. 2014; 3(2):208-219.
Johnson, Robert; Kelly, Alexa M.; Bousquet, Sarah; Nagelson, Susan; Mavaddat, Carla. 2014. "Death House Desiderata: A Hunger for Justice, Unsated." Laws 3, no. 2: 208-219.