The literature on capital punishment is voluminous. For nearly 250 years, scholars have discussed and debated such issues as its deterrent effect, or lack thereof; retributive and religious arguments; costs; administration, including miscarriages of justice and whether it is imposed in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner; and whether methods of execution are cruel and unusual.


Conspicuously missing from this literature is the human element; the impact of capital punishment on the lives of those who are involved in the process by calamity, duty, or choice. Capital Punishment's Collateral Damage seeks to rectify that omission by allowing participants in this ritual of death to describe in their own words their role in the process and, especially, its effects on them. In this way, we can begin to understand the reach of capital punishment beyond just the victim and the perpetrator. We can begin to understand the collateral damage of capital punishment.