Your Home Is Your Prison: How to Lock Down Your Neighborhood, Your Country & You

By: Sunday January 25, 2015 9:00 am

This article originally appeared at To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here. [Note for TomDispatch Readers: Today, the first TD special offer of the New Year accompanies Maya Schenwar’s striking report on how the prison experience is spreading in this country. Schenwar’s new book, Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We [...]


How Crazy Is Too Crazy to Be Executed

By: Wednesday October 15, 2014 3:08 pm

In her latest piece, Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones sheds light on the case of Scott Panetti—a death row prisoner who Texas wants to execute despite a decades-long history of severe mental illness and serious questions remaining about his competency to be executed.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Evan J. Mandery, A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America

By: Sunday November 3, 2013 2:58 pm

This book provides unparalleled insights into the workings of the Supreme Court and the often wildly unpredictable and clandestine underpinnings of rules of law that eventually emerge in far tidier terms in the justices’ written opinions. It is rich with revelations, intrigue, and scholarly perspective about the law and politics of capital punishment. A Wild Justice pays many handsome dividends in the reading.

Late Night: Cold War Mentality, Indeed

By: Thursday August 8, 2013 8:00 pm

In President Obama’s lie-laden softball interview with an increasingly doddering Grandpa once known as Jay Leno, he said one thing that made me laugh out loud, rather than merely shake my fist, slap my forehead, and down ever-larger gulps of alcohol, as I had been doing before and after. In that Harvard-esque, dismissive tone that infuriates me just as much as it does your average tooth-deficient Confederate-American, Mr. Hope and Change had the gall to utter that Russia was relapsing into a “cold war mentality.”

He really said that.

America’s Death Penalty Is Crumbling

By: Monday March 18, 2013 2:00 pm

Satirist Stephen Colbert called the death penalty “as American as killing someone with an apple pie,” but jokes like that might not work much longer.

America’s death penalty appears to be crumbling.

In other news, conservatives love the death penalty

By: Thursday March 14, 2013 1:30 am

This is hardly the first finding of race discrimination in regard to punishment ever conducted. Two years ago studies of the disproportionate use of the death penalty against African Americans ultimately led to its ban in Illinois.

Are We Executing The Innocent? Who Cares?

By: Friday November 4, 2011 6:01 pm

It all depends on what the meaning of the word “innocent” is…

Florida Lawmaker Wants to Put the Pain Back into Capital Punishment

By: Friday October 14, 2011 6:00 am

“There shouldn’t be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it…In the words of Humphrey Bogart [sic], ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ I am so tired of being humane to inhumane people.” – Florida lawmaker Rep. Brad Drake

Man, I just don’t know what to say behind that slice of “win” from Brad Drake. If the GOP wants to earn more cred as the “law and order” party.

Tinkering with the Machinery of Death Continues

By: Saturday September 24, 2011 9:00 am

In 1994, Justice Harry Blackmun famously announced his opposition to the death penalty: “From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.” It cannot be administered fairly, he said, and “the inevitability of factual, legal, and moral error” ensures that some innocent defendants will be killed.

The circus around Troy Davis’ execution tells me that we are continuing to tinker with the machinery of death. We are diminished as a society as a result.

The State-Sanctioned Killing of Troy Davis

By: Thursday September 22, 2011 6:01 am

Was it when it was after 10 pm and the Supreme Court still hadn’t issued a decision? Was it when the Supreme Court issued a “temporary reprieve” instead of a stay of execution and left people emotionally on edge outside the prison? Or was it when there was an abrupt flurry of sirens that pulled up and police storm troopers marched over to provide reinforcement for a line of police, which had been standing on guard? Was that when it became apparent Troy Davis was going to be killed Wednesday night?

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