chapter  7
24 Pages

Abolitionism and “alternatives”

ByBharat Malkani

This chapter discusses the history of slavery abolitionism to enquire into how anti-death penalty activists should, situate the use of life-without-parole (LWOP) within abolitionist discourses. It also outlines how a similar dilemma plagued the anti-slavery movement. A study of the problems with LWOP reveals two similar ways in which abolitionist endorsement of such sentences perpetuate the wrong of capital punishment, and stifle progress towards abolition. First, the endorsement of such sentences perpetuates the view that some people should be permanently cast away from the political and moral human community. Second, notwithstanding the views outlined above, it has been argued that the endorsement of such sentences has not led to a significant decline in the use of capital punishment, and has thus simply created another problem that needs addressing. The experience of Texas illustrates the effect that LWOP has on people's minds about the death penalty.