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February 28 2015 | UNITED STATES

by Mario Marazziti, Afterword by Paul Elie

13 Ways Of Looking At The Death Penalty

The first hand report of how the world is changing and the use of capital punishment is shrinking and embarassing

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In the past decade, 141 of the world's 192 countries have abolished or ceased to use capital punishment. Some have outlawed the death penalty for the first time; others, having outlawed it decades ago, have taken resolutions never to adopt it in the future. Meanwhile, NGOs, citizens' groups, progressive politicians, and church people have inspired a popular opposition to the death penalty, so that many American cities and states are now anti-death-penalty zones: not just Cambridge and Berkeley, but New Jersey, New Mexico and Michigan.
The United States is the largest western nation where the death penalty is still in use, but the movement for abolition has taken place out of our view. Attention here has focused on technical questions: Is it legal? Color-blind? Cost-effective? A real deterrent to violent crime?
Marazziti, an Italian, sheds light on the inhumanity of the death pealty in thirteen vivid, pointed episodes. They include a Swiftian tour of the Museum of Execution in Huntsville, Texas; the story of Dominique Green, a black man who was sentenced unfairly in Texas by an all-white jury, and made friends worldwide while on death row; conversations with exonerated prisoners and with family members of murdered people who stand against the death penalty despite their own loss; and an unforgettable profile of the prison warden who, after carrying out dozens of executions in Huntville, became convinced that the death penalty is an inhuman crime.
It is time to imagine the United States without the death penalty, and this original and powerful book shows us how to do so.
"13 Ways of Looking at the Death Penalty by Mario Marazziti is a deeply moving and cogently argued account of why an abominable practice should be abolished. The death penalty dehumanizes those who use it. Its mistakes cannot be corrected." -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate

MARIO MARAZZITI has been the longtime portavoce (spokesman) for the Community of Sant'Egidio, the Rome-based progressive Catholic NGO, co-founded the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty in 2002. For many years he was a producer with RAI, the Italian television network. In 2012 he was elected to the lower house of parliament in Italy, where he pursues a broad human-rights portfolio. He is the author of a number of books in Italian and has written a regular column for Corriere della Sera. He is fluent in English. He lives in Rome.