In an effort to expose the public to the reality of death sentence, Susan Kuklin presents this memoir/biography of death row inmates who were sentenced as teenagers. Using a mix of interviews, narration, and journal entries, the author illustrates that these prisoners, though convicted criminals, are just men seeking redemption and trying to survive in an impossible environment. Besides accomplishing an intimate look inside some of America’s prisons, Kuklin’s nonfiction piece calls into question the validity of the death penalty and the effectiveness of serving hard time.
This one is really interesting. Told by current inmates, families of inmates, and families of crime survivors, the book makes life in prison (and on death row) a reality. What’s especially tragic is the fact that the prisoners were sentenced as teenagers and are now in their 30’s. Many of these prisoners don’t deny committing their crimes, but the book still raises some important questions. If someone is convicted of a crime in their teens, should they have to pay for it for the rest of their life? Should they have to die for it as a teenager? I’m not sure what my personal position is, but this book definitely made the issues more real for me. If you’re at all interested in criminal justice, the death penalty, or teenagers sentenced to hard time, this is definitely a good pick for you. Also, this may also be a good book to read if you need to do a project on current controversial topics.
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