Nevertheless, while the death penalty exists in law, the threat of death as a criminal sanction nearly always carries with it the possibility of execution. As a consequence, prisoners often have to endure during the processes of appeal and clemency proceedings the uncertainty of whether their life will be forfeited. The fact that these proceedings may last for many years while the convicted person awaits his or her fate-the so-called “death row phenomenon”—is a potent aspect of the death penalty,

whether or not it is followed by capital punishment. It is for these reasons that this chapter deals with the broader question of the sanction of death, rather than the narrower issue of execution.