NOVEMBER 7, 2012
by Tina Underwood, Contributing Writer
Furman English alumna Saundra Davis Westervelt ‘90 has coauthored a book about life after death row. Published by Rutgers University Press, “Life after Death Row: Exonerees’ Search for Community and Identity” examines the post-incarceration struggles of individuals who have been wrongly convicted of capital crimes, sentenced to death, and subsequently exonerated.
In the book, Westervelt and coauthor Kimberly J. Cook present eighteen exonerees’ stories, focusing on three central areas: the invisibility of the innocent after release, the complicity of the justice system in that invisibility, and personal trauma management. They dispel the widely-held notion that exonerees are automatically compensated by the state or provided adequate assistance in the transition to post-prison life. Drawing on research about trauma, recovery, coping, and stigma, the authors present the struggles faced by people striving to reclaim their lives after years of wrongful incarceration.