In new book, Bessler says the death penalty is a form of torture

Professor John Bessler

Professor John Bessler

Professor John Bessler’s latest book, The Death Penalty as Torture: From the Dark Ages to Abolition, will be published early this year by Carolina Academic Press.

A summary of the forthcoming book reads in part: “In The Death Penalty as Torture, Prof. John Bessler argues that death sentences and executions are medieval relics. In a world in which ‘mock’ or simulated executions, as well as a host of other non-lethal acts, are already considered to be torturous, he contends that death sentences and executions should be classified under the rubric of torture. Unlike in the Middle Ages, penitentiaries—one of the products of the Enlightenment—now exist throughout the globe to house violent offenders. With the rise of life without parole sentences, and with more than four of five nations no longer using executions, The Death Penalty as Torture calls for the recognition of a peremptory, international law norm against the death penalty’s use.”

Click here to read the full summary and to see the book cover.

Bessler is the author of several books about the death penalty and is the editor of Against the Death Penalty (Brookings Institution Press, 2016), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissent in Glossip v. Gross, a 2015 death-penalty case. The book was recently reviewed by David Wecht, a justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Click here to read the review.

In addition, Bessler spoke last month at the National Constitution Center’s Bill of Rights Day Book Festival. A recording of the panel discussion will be broadcast at 3:30 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Jan. 7 by C-SPAN 2. For details, click here and scroll down.

Learn more about Professor Bessler.

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