In the Shadow of Death: Restorative Justice and Death Row Families

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Oxford University Press, Feb 8, 2007 - Social Science - 300 pages
The press called Martin's actions a "crime spree." Already convicted of armed robbery, Martin was facing the death penalty. In less than two weeks the jury would decide his fate. Terrified that his son would be sentenced to die, Phillip did the only thing he felt he could do: in an act of faith and desperation in his garage with the car exhaust running, Phillip made the consummate sacrifice to spare his son the ultimate punishment. Ironically, his suicide presented Martin's with another chance at life; the jury, moved by Martin's loss, spared his life.
Phillip's story-like those of the other parents, siblings, children, and cousins chronicled in this book-vividly illustrates the precarious position family members of capital offenders occupy in the criminal justice system. At once outsiders and victims, they live in the shadow of death, crushed by trauma, grief, and helplessness. In this penetrating account of guilt and innocence, shame and triumph, devastating loss and ultimate redemption, the voices of these family members add a new dimension to debates about capital punishment and how communities can prevent and address crime.
Restorative justice theory, which views violent crime as an extreme violation of relationships; searches for ways to hold offenders accountable; and meets the needs of victims and communities torn apart by the crime, organizes these narratives and integrates offenders' families into the process of transforming conflict and promoting justice and healing for all. What emerges from hundreds of hours' worth of in-depth interviews with family members of offenders and victims, legal teams, and leaders in the abolition and restorative justice movements is a vision of justice strongly rooted in the social fabric of communities. Showing that forgiveness and recovery are possible in the wake of even the most heinous crimes, while holding victims' stories sacred, this eye-opening book bridges the pain of living in the shadow of death with the possibility of a reparative form of justice.
Anyone working with victims, offenders, and their families-from lawyers and social workers to mediators and activists-will find this riveting work indispensable to their efforts.

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Shadow of Death
Restorative Justice

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About the author (2007)

Elizabeth Beck, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Georgia State University. Her work has been in the areas of community practice and forensic social work and is currently examining restorative justice in a community context. She has consulted on numerous capital cases and has been asked to serve as an expert in state and federal cases, and conducts trainings for capital defense lawyers in several states, at the national level, and for the federal system. She is presently on the board of the Alternative Sentencing and Mitigation Institute, Inc.
Sarah Britto, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Department of Law and Justice at Central Washington University. Her primary research areas are crime and the media, violent crime, and restorative justice. She has focused on media stereotypes and how media consumption influences fear of crime, punitive attitudes, attitudes toward the police, and public policy. She sees restorative justice as a way to understand and address both the problems that lead to crime and the consequences of crime.
Arlene Bowers Andrews, Ph.D., is Professor in the College of Social Work and Director of the Institute for Families in Society at the University of South Carolina. She is particularly interested in how families adapt to chronic turbulence in their lives. Her work has emphasized development and evaluation of community systems of care and state policy development for children's mental health. She has served as an expert witness regarding mitigation in state and federal courts.

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