Uploaded on Sep 9, 2010
With the US continuing to execute prisoners, Fault Lines presenter Josh Rushing looks at the politics driving capital punishment in the US.
Eighty per cent of the executions the US carries out occur in a handful of states in the South - where it is popular for politicians to run "tough on crime" campaigns.
Fault Lines travels to Oklahoma -- which executes more prisoners per capita than any other state in the country. Josh Rushing gained rare access to Oklahoma's death row and the prisoners there.
But across the US, there is a slow, but significant shift in America's attitude towards the death penalty.
DNA testing and, in some states, a willingness by judges and prosecutors to revisit old capital cases have led to many well-publicised exonerations of death row inmates.
Since 1973 over 130 innocent people have been released from death row after establishing their innocence. The possibility of getting it wrong may have made juries nervous to hand out the death penalty ... preferring life without parole.
And while the US is still very much pro-death for capital offences, that support has dropped to 65 per cent in 2006, down from 80 per cent in 1994.
People and organizations featured in this film include: Edith Shoals, Michael Selsor, Carol Anderson, Frank Keating, Richard Dieter, Jim Fowler, Constance Johnson, Greg Whilhoit, Commissioner Justin Jones, Oklahoma State Penitentiary, Death Penalty Information Center, Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
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