"I know that it is not a question of malice or ill will or meanness of spirit that prompts our citizens to support executions. It is quite simply that people don't know the truth about what is really going on." This passage, found in the book "Dead Man Walking", written by Sister Helen Prejean, speaks directly about the theme of this book: the morality of Capital Punishment. Sister Helen Prejean has written an insightful book condemning the killing of human beings within a government and society that allow it. She discusses the effects of poverty, race, political agendas and injustices of the American legal system on a death sentence verdict, while questioning societies moral justification of its actions. .
Sister Helen Prejean argues the death penalty is morally wrong, based on the inequalities of the law. An extreme majority of those on death row are, what one would, consider under-privileged, or poor. In 1989 37.7 million working American, accounting for 39 percent of the total of income tax returns, received had incomes below $15,000. Instead of putting money into childcare, low-income housing, employment training and food subsidies, the Regan administration put enormous amounts of funding towards the building of new prisons, at an estimated of cost of $50,000 per bed. By 1990 1.1 million American were behind bars, the highest confinement rate in the world , with 99 percent of those on death row, poor. Between 1981 and 1991 the federal government cut its contribution to education by 25 percent and increased it allocation for criminal justice by 29 percent. The poor were getting poorer while the prisons gained momentum. .
It was during her times Patrick Sonnier and Robert Lee Willie that, Prejean realized the importance of having a stable and supportive upbringing. Both Pat and Robert were raised in single parent families, Pat's father had died at an early age, and Roberts had been in prison most of his life.