Thirty years on Death Row: When Reality Confronts Critical Theory

The time-table that opens Discipline and Punish—far more than the gruesome tortured death of Damiens—mirrors the experience of living on death row today. Thirty years and counting, a condemned man in Alabama awaits his execution, a lethal injection that may now serve more as a form of euthanasia to end the final stages of his metastasized cancer. The critical theory of punishment meets a life of litigation in a liberal democracy: What can we, as academics, learn when we take on such commitments to cases and people in the criminal justice system?

Professor Bernard Harcourt
Columbia Law School