Source: (2005) Dissertation submitted for the degree Doctor of Philosophy.Sam Houston State University.

This study sheds important light on the human context of the death penalty and the humanity which is at the center of it. The death penalty is often touted as a punishment justly applied to irredeemable offenders providing the only way to truly serve justice and offer closure for co-victims. These rationales are rarely structured around the actual words of these populations, however. The findings reported in this study suggest that such rhetoric severely oversimplifies and in many cases misrepresents these groups. Through their own words, we learn that the death penalty is neither a soothing salve for the pain and suffering of co-victims nor simply an extraction of evil and irredeemable criminals. Rather, we find humanity. And this humanity-these voices-seem to be telling us that we have failed them. We have failed to provide real transformation, healing and closure in the wake of violence and tragedy. (Excerpt)