Voices from Death Row, Second Edition

By Bruce Jackson & Diane Christian

Subjects: Criminal Justice, General Interest, American History, Law, Sociology
Hardcover : 9781438489292, 320 pages, October 2022
Paperback : 9781438489308, 320 pages, October 2022

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Table of contents

Preface to the Original Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Glossary of the Row

Part I: Death by Texas

1. Killing Rooms

2. The Row

3. Time and Trivia

4. Death

Part II: Death Row

1. Arriving
Legal Matters
Family Affairs

Gallery of Death Row

2. Surviving
Three Specimen Days
Feeling Sick and Going Crazy Too
Finding God
Filling Time

3. Dying and Killing
The Death Penalty

Postscript: Our Point of View

A searing, personal look at conditions on Texas's Death Row—told in the words of the prisoners themselves.


Voices from Death Row is considered a classic work on the strange "living limbo" inhabited by condemned men in Texas, who await resolution of their sentence in execution, death by other causes, commutation to a term of life sentence, or exoneration. This book offers first-person accounts of life on death row that still holds for condemned men and women today. The accessibility the authors had to Texas Death Row in 1979—to sit in the cells and listen—is unimaginable in today's closed prison environment. Today, however, conditions on Texas's Death Row are far more punishing and brutal; and, while the number of death sentences has declined, the number of sentences of life without parole has increased hugely. This second edition updates and expands on the original stories that these men told, revealing the names of those men whose stories have ended with either exoneration or death. New photographs enhance the text to give it a full picture of the brutal conditions that these prisoners experienced.

Bruce Jackson is SUNY Distinguished Professor and the James Agee Professor of American Culture at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Diane Christian is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Together, Jackson and Christian are the coauthors of In This Timeless Time: Living and Dying on Death Row in America.


From the Reviews of the First Edition

"Jackson and Christian have succeeded in capturing both the horror of state-ordered death and the dignity of the people who await their own exterminations. Voices from Death Row is a powerful and significant outcry against the death penalty." — William Kunstler

"Raises important questions about the judicial system and the practice of capital punishment in our society." — Publishers Weekly

"A gritty, raw account … [that puts] every prison movie you've seen to shame." — Dallas Morning News