Welcome to Hell: Letters & Writings from Death Row

Front Cover
Jan Arriens
UPNE, 2005 - Social Science - 277 pages
1 Review
Consisting of letters and other writings from inmates to members of LifeLines, an organization of pen friends based in the United Kingdom, Welcome to Hell vividly conveys daily life on death row. Ranging from simple descriptions of cockroach races and a typewriter repaired with rubber bands and a toothbrush, to profoundly affecting glimpses into horrific abusive childhoods, to eloquent, emotionally powerful statements about facing execution, these remarkable letters reveal the human side of capital punishment.

The second edition includes new chapters that focus in particular on how inmates, knowing that the only realistic alternative to death is a life sentence without parole, cope with long periods of imprisonment in a hostile system that remorselessly seeks to take their lives. The additional material also gives insight into the ways in which death row prisoners flower as human beings despite their harsh, isolated, and traumatic environment.

As Sister Helen Prejean writes in her foreword, "Take this guided tour through Hell-guided by those who should know: the prisoners themselves. This is a book that speaks from the heart to the heart. Hopes, fears, anguish, desolation, anger -- they're all here. There isn't a page that doesn't make us laugh, cry, or shout. This book is their story -- the story of those cast aside by society. Not human like we are? Come and see for yourself."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - eesti23 - LibraryThing

This book which allows an alternative glimpse into the lives of the men and women on death row in the United States is truly compelling and shocking. The stereotypical view of these people being ... Read full review

Welcome to Hell: Letters & Writings from Death Row (Criminal Justice)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This book on the death penalty in America has two parts: a case history and a collection of letters written by men and women on death row. The first part evolved from a BBC documentary about the 1987 ... Read full review


Killing Our Mistakes
Societys Debtand Societys Response
An Evil Place
Welcome to Hell
Prison Life
Three Blind Mice and a Cocktail
When Someone Deeply Listens
The Murderer Lives
A Simple Plastic Mirror
Lifes Losers
In the Belly of the Beast
Scraping Away Hope Faith and Dreams
The Appeals Process by Clive Stafford Smith

The PeePee Dance
Facing the End

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About the author (2005)

Jan Arriens is an activist against the death penalty and founder of LifeLines. Sister Helen Prejean is the author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. Clive Stafford Smith is Director of the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center in New Orleans.

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