This is a sensitive film about the complex issue of the death sentence for criminals in the USA, which executes more people each year than any other society in the developed world, and which despite occasional morotoriums, is now back to carrying out the death sentence.
The film looks into the historical evolution of the death penalty, which has been used against the minorities in a disproportionate way. It also shows how it was originally a sign of justice done in public with crowds watching, until it was hidden away inside the prison building itself. It also discusses the methods used in execution.
We hear from a former executioner, who almost executed an innocent man, and may have executed other innocents, who now stands against the death penalty; another story is about the victims of the Boston marathon bombing who want to see justice, which for them means that the bomber who survived must forfeit his own life; and then there are the parents of a rape and murder victim who struggle to stand by their principles, when such a tragedy has struck their family.
The film could have been a partisan call one way or the other, but instead it brings out the conflicting claims for justice, safety and humanity, and lets the viewer decide, after hearing from some of those most deeply affected by the issue, and it is in many ways the better for that.
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