Death at Midnight: The Confession of an Executioner

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UPNE, 1998 - Law - 200 pages
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Death at Midnight is the provocative tale of prison warden Donald Cabana's moral awakening to the evils associated with the death penalty, and of the special relationship forged between a young black prisoner condemned to die and Cabana, the middle-aged white warden condemned to execute him. Cabana recounts his twenty-five-year career in corrections from his early beginnings as a naive but well-meaning prison guard to his tenures as warden at several prisons. He provides insight into prison life and illuminates significant changes and reforms that have occurred over the last two decades. Cabana frames his story with a riveting account of the execution of Connie Ray Evans, a prisoner with whom he developed a close bond during his many visits as warden to death row. He describes in vivid, compassionate detail the last two weeks in the life of Evans, and the same two weeks in the lives of the prison staff preparing to kill him. Cabana takes readers inside the "secretive, mysterious world of the execution chamber", allowing them to witness the execution process and to experience the myriad emotions of both the executioner and the condemned man strapped in a chair called "black death". In the end Cabana reveals that, although he spent most of his career convinced of the need for capital punishment, the eventuality of one day carrying out the death penalty was a disturbing and continual presence in his life and work. Giving the order to execute someone he believed was a reformed man finally led him to adopt an abolitionist stance.

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DEATH AT MIDNIGHT: The Confession of an Executioner

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In this folksy narrative, Cabana, a prison official for 25 years, recounts his experiences and his change of heart about the death penalty. Cabana elaborates on his early fascination with corrections ... Read full review

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Excellent book. I needed it for a presentation about death penalty and I ended up reading the whole book, forgetting my presentation. Highly recomended.
Excelente libro. Lo necesitaba para una presentación sobre la pena de muerte, y terminé leyéndolo todo de una sentada. Muy recomendado.


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About the author (1998)

Donald A. Cabana teaches criminal justice at Southern Mississippi University. He was a prison administrator at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Bridgewater, the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, the Alachua County Department of Corrections in Gainesville, Florida, and the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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