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Wretched Sisters

Examining Gender and Capital Punishmend


Mary Welek Atwell

Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, fourteen women have been put to death in the United States. The criminal justice system defines crimes committed by women in a particularly gendered context. Wretched Sisters is unique in its analysis of the legal and cultural circumstances that determine why a small number of women are sentenced to death and provides a detailed account of how these fourteen women came to be subjected to the ultimate punishment.
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About the author(s)/editor(s)


Mary Welek Atwell holds a Ph.D. in history from Saint Louis University. She is Professor Emerita of Criminal Justice at Radford University. She is the author of Equal Protection of the Law: Gender and Justice in the United States (2002) and Evolving Standards of Decency: Popular Culture and Capital Punishment (2004).

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