Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 SelectionThe Instant New York Times BestsellerA powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit."An amazing and heartwarming story, it restores our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.”- Archbishop Desmond TutuIn 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence―full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon―transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015. With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.
In 12 years, Michelle Lyons witnessed nearly 300 executions. First as a reporter and then as a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Michelle was a frequent visitor to Huntsville's Walls Unit, where she recorded and relayed the final moments of death row inmates' lives before they were put to death by the state. Michelle was in the death chamber as some of the United States' most notorious criminals, including serial killers and rapists, spoke their last words on earth, while a cocktail of lethal drugs surged through their veins. Michelle supported the death penalty, before misgivings began to set in as the executions mounted. During her time in the prison system, and together with her dear friend and colleague, Larry Fitzgerald, she came to know and like some of the condemned men and women she saw die. She began to query the arbitrary nature of the death penalty and ask the question: do executions make victims of all of us? An incredibly powerful and unique look at the complex story of capital punishment, as told by those whose lives have been shaped by it, Death Row: The Final Minutes is an important take on crime and punishment at a fascinating point in America's political history.
From a former criminal and now chaplain for the San Francisco 49ers and the Golden State Warriors, comes a riveting, behind-the-bars look at one of America’s most feared prisons: San Quentin. Reverend Earl Smith shares the most important lessons he’s learned from years of helping inmates discover God’s plan for them.In 1983, twenty-seven-year-old Earl Smith arrived at San Quentin just like everyone thought he would. Labeled as a gang member and criminal from a young age, Smith was expected to do some time, but after a brush with death during a botched drug deal, Smith’s soul was saved and his life path was altered forever. From that moment on, Smith knew God had an unusual mission for him, and he became the minister to the lost souls sitting on death row. For twenty-three years, Smith played chess with Charles Manson, negotiated truces between rival gangs, and bore witness to the final thoughts of many death row inmates. But most importantly, Smith helped the prisoners of San Quentin find redemption, hope, and to understand that it is still possible to find God’s grace and mercy from behind bars. Edgy, insightful, and thought provoking, Death Row Chaplainteaches us God’s grace can reach anyone—even the most desperate and lost—and that it’s never too late to turn our lives around.
Prisoners on death row spend 22 or more hours a day alone in cramped, barren cells. They have little to do except wait to die -- without knowing if it will happen in days or decades. This extreme isolation combined with the omnipresent fear of death takes a severe psychological toll that is unnecessary, inhumane, and -- in the eyes of many -- unconstitutional. In this book Hans Toch, James Acker and Vincent Bonventre present wide-ranging scholarly perspectives from psychologists, legal professionals, and criminologists, along with compelling personal accounts from prison administrators and actual death row inmates. Together, they reveal the systemic, physical, and moral conditions that define and underlie death row, as well as the humanity of death row inmates who struggle to find meaning amid a lack of human contact, physical activity, and mental stimulation. This book represents an urgent call to action for researchers, policymakers, and all those who seek criminal justice reform.
Bestselling author Thomas Cahill tells the absorbing, heartbreaking tale of the hard life and tragic death of Dominique Green—wrongly accused, then executed in Huntsville, Texas—and shines a light on our racist and deeply flawed criminal justice system. Green, an extraordinary young man from the urban ghettos of Houston, was utterly failed by every echelon of society—the Catholic Church, numerous U.S. courts of law, and even his own mother. But from the depths of despair on Death Row, he transcended his earthly sufferings and achieved enlightenment and peace, inciting an international movement against the death penalty and inspiring his personal hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to plead publicly for mercy. A Saint on Death Row is an unforgettable, sobering, and deeply spiritual account that illuminates the moral imperatives too often ignored in the headlong quest for judgment.
It started in Compton. it ended in infamy. In the wake of Marion "Suge" Knight's move to rip the guts out of Ruthless Records and NWA, Death Row Records exploded on the music scene in 1993 with the "gangster rap" sound that had taken world by storm. Yet despite its unprecedented success with stars such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, it quickly unraveled in a firestorm of rivalries, greed, violence and government scrutiny as Suge Knight's unconventional business methods increasingly mirrored the violent, hard-edged themes of its music. Based on the award winning documentary film of the same name, WELCOME TO DEATH ROW is the complete and untold story of the rise and fall of the notorious Death Row Records label, presented as an oral history through first-hand accounts of the people that lived it. It is vastly expanded with compelling (and sometimes shocking) accounts not heard in the documentary film, with stories from over 60 former Death Row rappers, promoters, music executives, journalists, producers, managers, publicists, lawyers and drug dealers -all eyewitnesses to the label's phenomenal success, internal battles and violence, and its inevitable crash. Interwoven with these histories is the story of the high-risk quest to complete the film, chronicling how director Leigh Savidge and producers Steve Housden & Jeff Scheftel navigated a surreal world of Crips & Bloods, crooked lawyers and cocaine kingpins, 'gangsta' rappers and thuggish music executives, and how the team persuaded the key players to tell their story under the threat of retaliation from every element, including threats from major music companies and the bizarre involvement of OJ Simpson prosecutor Chris Darden. Universal Pictures' STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON was developed a follow up to the WELCOME TO DEATH ROW film by its producers, constructing the story and acquiring rights, with author S. Leigh Savidge writing initial drafts of the screenplay
Some of the country's most infamous inmates serving a death sentence or life without parole are represented in this telling chronicle. True crime author Kelly Banaski takes a look at their gruesome crimes and shares her conversations with them in this look at heinous crimes and life in prison.
A chilling catalog of the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for their crimes The death penalty is one of the most hotly contested and longest-standing issues in American politics, and no place is more symbolic of that debate than Texas. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977, Texas has put more than 390 prisoners to death, far more than any other state. Texas Death Row puts faces to those condemned men and women, with stark details on their crimes, sentencing, last meals, and last words. Definitive and objective, Texas Death Row will provide ample fuel for readers on both sides of the death penalty debate.
Life after Death Row examines the post-incarceration struggles of individuals who have been wrongly convicted of capital crimes, sentenced to death, and subsequently exonerated.Saundra D. Westervelt and Kimberly J. Cook present eighteen exonerees’ stories, focusing on three central areas: the invisibility of the innocent after release, the complicity of the justice system in that invisibility, and personal trauma management. Contrary to popular belief, exonerees are not automatically compensated by the state or provided adequate assistance in the transition to post-prison life. With no time and little support, many struggle to find homes, financial security, and community. They have limited or obsolete employment skills and difficulty managing such daily tasks as grocery shopping or banking. They struggle to regain independence, self-sufficiency, and identity.Drawing upon research on trauma, recovery, coping, and stigma, the authors weave a nuanced fabric of grief, loss, resilience, hope, and meaning to provide the richest account to date of the struggles faced by people striving to reclaim their lives after years of wrongful incarceration.