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Working for JusticeA Handbook of Prison Education and Activism$
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Stephen John Hartnett, Eleanor Novek, and Jennifer K. Wood

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037702

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037702.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

“A Fate Worse than Death”

“A Fate Worse than Death”

Reform, Abolition, and Life without Parole in Anti–Death Penalty Discourse

Chapter:
(p.187) Chapter 9 “A Fate Worse than Death”
Source:
Working for Justice
Author(s):

Bryan J. Mccann

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037702.003.0010

This chapter contends that antiprison and anti-death penalty activists need to reexamine their rhetorical habits and political strategies if they hope to achieve any lasting change in the nation's prison system. It draws from literature theorizing the death penalty's place in the prison-industrial complex, rhetoric of anti-death penalty activists, and personal experiences of grassroots abolitionist organizers to critique the prevalence of LWOP (life imprisonment without the possibility of parole) in the death-penalty abolitionist movement. Specifically, the chapter argues that while the alternative of LWOP serves as an understandable rhetorical strategy to spread the anti-death penalty gospel to more ambivalent audiences, it undermines a central organizational posture of the abolitionist cause: understanding capital punishment as only the most macabre expression of a colossal and broken prison-industrial complex.

Keywords:   anti-death penalty, antiprison activism, prison system, prison-industrial complex, abolitionist organizers, LWOP, capital punishment

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