RTÉ One, Thursday 1 March
The death penalty is a blunt and unjust instrument that disproportionally targets racial minorities, the poor and people who are soft targets for the increasingly belligerent media and public who require quick fix convictions. African Americans make up 12% of the national population but they account for more than 40% of the country’s current death row population and 33% of those executed since 1977. But life for black people in the Deep South has always been precarious. From the practice of lynching to the denial of the right of black people to vote and compulsorily use of separate public utilities African Americans have always acted as reminder of their vulnerability. While huge advances have been made to correct some of those injustices, the legal system is still an hostile environment for many many African American people.