Death Row Welcomes You

A book by Steven Hale

Death Row Welcomes You was released on March 19, 2024. This title is available to purchase now.

 Death Row Welcomes You  Release Date: March 19, 2024

Death Row Welcomes You

In the vein of Waiting for an Echo and Dead Man Walking, a deeply immersive look at justice in America, told through the interwoven lives of condemned prisoners and the men and women who come to visit them . . .

In 2018, after nearly a decade’s hiatus, the state of Tennessee began executing death row inmates, bucking national trends that showed the death penalty in decline. In less than two years, the state put seven men to death, more than any other state but Texas in that time period. It was an execution spree unlike any seen in Tennessee since the 1940s, one only brought to a halt by a global pandemic.

Award-winning journalist Steven Hale was the leading reporter on these executions, covering them both locally for the Nashville Scene alt-weekly and nationally for The Appeal.

In Death Row Welcomes You, Hale traces the lives of condemned prisoners at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution—and the people who come to visit them. What brought them—the visitors and convicted murderers alike—to death row?

The visitors are, for the most part, not activists—or at least they did not start out that way. Nor are they the sort of killer-obsessed death row groupies such settings sometimes attract. In fact, in most cases they are average people whose lives, not to mention their views on the death penalty, were turned upside down by a face-to-face meeting with a death row prisoner.

Hale’s access to the people that make up that community afforded him a perspective that no other journalist has been granted, largely because Tennessee’s Department of Correction has all but shut off official media access.

Combining topics that have long fascinated readers—crime, death, and life inside prison—Hale writes with humanity, empathy, and insight earned by befriending death row prisoners . . . and standing witness to their final moments.

Genre:  Nonfiction 

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