A question that lingered in my mind after watching Dead Man Walking was, "Is it morally just to put a criminal to death in retribution for their crime?" After watching this movie and reading the article Living and Dying on Death Row: An Eyewitness Account, I believe it is definitely an unjust and inhumane act. It is definitely not living out the word of God, who tells us "Thou shall not kill," and to "turn the other cheek". By executing someone in order to find gratification for the crime that person committed, we are acting no less cruel and evil than the perpetrator did when he/she committed the crime. .
Matthew Poncelet was a convicted killer who raped a teenage girl and killed her boyfriend. Anyone knowing the crime he committed would quickly judge him as a horrible and cruel animal. However, Sister Helen looked beyond his mistakes and imperfections, and treated him like a regular person. She showed respect to him by writing him letters, visiting him in jail, treating him like a person and not a killer, finding him a lawyer, and agreeing to be his spiritual advisor. I think by treating him with the respect she did, it helped him take responsibility for the crime he committed, which led him to turn to God for repentance and forgiveness. She also worked hard to show respect to the victims" families and learn their point of view on the subject. Upon meeting them, she apologized for the death of their children and told them that they can call her if they ever need to talk. She also visited with both victim's parents and listened to them talk about their children and how much they loved them. She offered herself to them, just as she did with Matthew as a shoulder to cry on. I think all the prisoners on death row are in desperate need of someone to talk to. In an article by Joseph Ross entitled, "Living and Dying on Death Row: An Eyewitness Account", he had a similar relationship with an inmate that Sister Helen had with Matthew.