Friday, August 29, 2008

Page for Favorite Rachel King Quotes

This first part is simply an introduction to further quotes from various and sundry places, including personal conversations...

From her great book "Don't Kill in Our Names"

Since 1973, King says, 200 death sentences have been handed down to juvenile offenders, at least half of which were in Texas, Florida, and Alabama. She goes on to say that minorities, another vulnerable group, made up two-thirds of the juveniles sentenced to death.

In addition, says King, since 1990, only five countries besides the United States have made it a practice to execute juvenile offenders-Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. This, she says, puts the United States "in the company of some of the world's most notorious human rights violators."

...King discusses wrongful conviction. She points out that as of 2001, 98 people from 22 states had been released from death row after they were able to establish their innocence through DNA or other evidence. And while death penalty proponents say this proves the criminal justice system does work, King argues that it was not the system that exonerated these prisoners, but rather family members, filmmakers, and journalists. "Most death row inmates are not fortunate enough to have this type of extra-legal help," she says. "One can only speculate on the number of innocent people who have been executed."

As with juvenile offenders, a vast majority of adult death row inmates are from minorities. King quotes the following statistics: 11 of the 13 prisoners executed in Alabama from 1976 to 1997 were African-American; at least 50 percent of inmates on death row in North Carolina, Ohio, Delaware, Mississippi, and Virginia are African-American; more than three out of four persons on death row in military prisons are people of color; and 60 percent of prisoners on death row in California and Texas are either black, Latino, Asian, or Native American.

In the final unit of her book, King addresses one solution for this problem. Restorative justice, King says, is a problem-solving approach to crime that involves the community, the victims' families, and even the offenders' families. King says restorative justice is based on the assumption that crime "originates in social conditions and relationships in the community and that effective crime prevention depends on communities taking some responsibility for remedying the conditions that cause crime."

...King concludes by turning the spotlight on herself, admitting that she has struggled with the idea of forgiveness. After writing her book, however, she has looked to the inspiration of these families' stories to deal with life's daily injustices.

"Each person in this book faced a situation of unbelievable grief, and all not only survived but used it to improve their lives or the lives of people around them," she says. "Perhaps the enduring lesson is that love and forgiveness are more powerful than any amount of hate and revenge."

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