This collection asks questions about the received wisdom of the debate about capital punishment. Woven through the book, questions are asked of, and remedies proposed for, a raft of issues identified as having been overlooked in the traditional discourse. It provides a long overdue review of the disparate groups and strategies that lay claim to abolitionism. The authors argue that capital litigators should use their skills challenging the abuses not just of process, but of the conditions in which the condemned await their fate, namely prison conditions, education, leisure, visits, medical services, etc. In the aftermath of successful constitutional challenges it is the beneficiaries (arguably those who are considered successes, having been ’saved’ from the death penalty and now serving living death penalties of one sort or another) who are suffering the cruel and inhumane alternative. Part I of the book offers a selection of diverse, nuanced examinations of death penalty phenomena, scrutinizing complexities frequently omitted from the narrative of academics and activists. It offers a challenging and comprehensive analysis of issues critical to the abolition debate. Part II offers examinations of countries usually absent from academic analysis to provide an understanding of the status of the debate locally, with opportunities for wider application.
Peter Hodgkinson entered university via employment as a Probation Officer in Inner London where he developed an interest and expertise in working with life sentenced and mentally disordered offenders. He has an honours degree in Psychology and a Certificate of Qualification in Social Work and these together with his experience of working with offenders, and a stint as Forensic Social Work Adviser have informed both his teaching and the establishment of the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies at the University of Westminster, of which he is Founder and Director. In H. M. Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2004 he was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his work promoting human rights.