Dylann Roof could have been quietly and simply sent to prison for the rest of his life. Instead, his death penalty trial has become an international spectacle where, acting as his own lawyer, he will get to cross examine survivors and victims’ families. Even in the worst crimes, the death penalty serves no one.
As we celebrated a happy ending, the family of Sabrina Buie was beginning a new chapter of grief. Our broken criminal justice system has never allowed this family to heal. Instead of justice, they got a corrupt investigation and decades of painful court hearings that ended in nothing.
Recently, researchers took on the question of whether executions help families who have lost a loved one to violence. Surprisingly, they found that families from a state without the death penalty were more emotionally healthy.
Hear the voices of people who have lost parents, children, and siblings to violence. Their stories reveal the complexity that is lost in simplistic arguments about executions bringing “closure” to victims who have felt the pain of murder.