Exploring the Support Networks of those Caring for Loved Ones on Texas Death Row
MetadataShow full metadata
Supporters of death row inmates suffer greatly and endure many hardships related to caring for a loved one on Texas’ death row. This study aims to understand the support networks developed by caretakers of capital offenders, along with their current needs and barriers. While the research consistently shows the tremendous devastation the death penalty inflicts on offenders’ family and friends, missing from the literature is an examination of the support provided by caretakers, their needs and obstacles, and the support available to them.
Data collected during this qualitative study reveals three types of support provided: emotional, comfort, and advocacy care, and a vast support network is available to some caretakers. The amount of backing depends on the supporter and the circumstances surrounding the offender and crime. The supporters’ needs range from funding for care, removal of a loved one from death row, educating the public on capital punishment, and voice amplification. Major barriers include Texas statutes, money, and stigma. Key actants providing support include other supporters of capital offenders, one’s appeals attorney, and nonprofit activist and religious organizations.
Understanding the impact experienced by the supporters under study will allow professionals to make more informed decisions regarding the death penalty and illuminate the ripple effects of trauma suffered by innocent members of Texas’ communities. Restorative justice initiatives invite more research on the community impact of crime and punishment beyond the usual focus on healing and limiting the damage caused by crime, and the reaction to crime presenting an opportunity for loved ones of those sentenced to be executed.