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Title: Incarceration on death row : a microcosm of communication?
Author: Pettigrew, Mark
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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Death row is a space across the United States that continues to expand, not only in numbers, but in the length of time inmates spend confined there. Fewer and fewer inmates are executed and death row is now increasingly the only punishment of capital convicts. This thesis examines the retributive and punitive treatment of death-sentenced offenders within that space and, by viewing that form of imprisonment as part of a communication process, it assesses the contribution it makes to the death penalty more generally in the USA to argue that death row imprisonment is crucial in sustaining the distinction of capital offenders, and the death penalty itself.Just as death row receives images from wider culture, it simultaneously generates images that complement and validate those it receives, of death sentenced offenders as dangerous monsters. These images, of offenders who require punitive detention, align with the dominant supportive rationale of capital punishment, retribution, and provide a basis for continued death penalty support in an era of declining executions.In the “hidden world” of death row, prisoners are left to be abused, mistreated, and denied privileges and opportunities available to other prisoners. The capital offender is presented by his death row incarceration as different from all other offenders serving other sentences, even life without parole. Death row incarceration communicates the worth and status of the condemned, presenting him as a dangerous, and dehumanised other, who needs to be securely detained, and restricted. Thus death row validates and justifies the cultural needs of capital punishment. Just as wider culture, including, specifically, the legal community, dictates a requirement for punitive detention, death row corroborates that image with its own in a self-affirming loop. Death row is therefore functional beyond the mere holding of offenders, it affirms cultural descriptions of the condemned and thus justifies, and provides support for, the very continuation of capital punishment itself.
Supervisor: Hebenton, William; Quirk, Hannah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: death row ; death penalty ; incarceration