An Eyewitness to Execution Brings Her Message to Kentucky
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sister Helen Prejean has witnessed six executions. Since the first 20 years ago, the Roman Catholic nun has been on a crusade to abolish the death penalty, a message she brings to Louisville and Lexington this week. Prejean wrote the book "Dead Man Walking," her personal account of being a death row inmate's spiritual adviser and a witness to his execution. It was made into a movie in 1996.
According to Prejean, support for the death penalty is eroding, but ...
"It's still entrenched in pockets of the Deep South. I mean, there's such a deep, deep connection between slavery, poverty, racism and harsh penal codes," she said.
Prejean said 80 percent of the executions in the U.S. take place in former slave states. Kentucky is among 32 states where the death penalty is legal.
Prejean believes the need for the death penalty in America was "stoked by fear." But she said that now, people are coming to understand that there is a safe alternative.
"The fear has been diminished because people know that they can be protected equally well by life without parole sentences, and that no political animals, like governors, are ever going to let people out."
Prejean, a native of Louisiana who considers herself a southern storyteller, said she can tell by the "stillness of an audience" that her message is resonating. She speaks on Thursday night in Louisville, and Friday evening in Lexington.
She said the reason she serves as a witness to executions is so the condemned can see her face and, in her words, "have dignity when they die." She said her six experiences have galvanized her crusade.
"It makes me get out on that road to wake up the people about this. I cannot walk away," she declared. "It's truly a moral imperative that I must work 'til the end of my life, that this must change."
The Kentucky Legislature has rejected recent efforts to make life without parole the maximum sentence. Death penalty opponents are expected to try again in 2014.
Link to information on Prejean's Kentucky visits at KCADP.org.
get more stories like this via email
LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …
Health and Wellness
By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …
SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…
BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…
HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …
Health and Wellness
CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …