The impact of the death penalty on families of murder victims is complex.  This 2012 study by the Marquette Law Review found that families of victims in Minnesota who had judicial closure more quickly experienced “higher levels of physical, psychological, and behavioral health. ” This was in comparison to a group of survivors in Texas, where “the finality of the appeals process… was drawn out, elusive, delayed, and unpredictable. It generated layers of injustice, powerlessness, and in some instances, despair.”

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty also works with the family of murder victims and seeks to give them a voice from their position at “the edge” of the death penalty.

Voices from the Edge: The Impact of Missouri’s Death Penalty on Victims, Correctional Staff, and Families of the Executed is a series of interviews conducted by Kate Siska. These powerful testimonies illustrate the impact of Missouri’s death penalty on the lives of real people. Kate is a mitigation specialist who works with one of the nation’s most successful death penalty trial attorneys. Her experiences working on death penalty trials and her interviews with jurors who served in capital cases involving the death penalty compelled her to develop this project and presentation.

This book has been created as a collaboration between MADP (Missourians Against the Death Penalty) and Chameleon Arts, a Kansas City-based arts and education non-profit. It is available for purchase here.

Hear more from the family members of murder victims at Journey of Hope, “who choose not to seek revenge, and instead select the path of love and compassion for all of humanity.” At Journey, “Forgiveness is seen as strength and as a way of healing.”