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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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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Atwell, Mary Welek, author. Wretched sisters: examining gender and capital punishment / Mary Welek Atwell. — 2nd edition. pages cm. — (Studies in crime and punishment; vol. 20) Includes bibliographical references. 1. Trials (Murder)—United States. 2. Female offenders—Legal status, laws, etc.—United. 3. Capital punishment—United States. I. Title. KF221.M8A98 364.66092’520973—dc23 2014024885 ISBN 978-1-4331-2234-7 (paperback) ISBN 978-1-4539-1418-2 (e-book) ISSN 1529-2444

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

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