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"Virginia’s Death Penalty: the Future is History," a Book Reading and Signing with Dale Brumfield and Brandon Garrett

  • The Visual Arts Center 1812 West Main Street Richmond, VA, 23220 United States (map)

Join us at the Visual Arts Center for "Virginia’s Death Penalty: the Future is History," a book reading & signing with Dale Brumfield, author of Virginia State Penitentiary: A Notorious History, and Brandon L. Garrett, author of End if Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice. Free & open to the public. 

About the books: 

Thomas Jefferson developed the idea for the Virginia State Penitentiary and set the standard for the future of the American prison system. Designed by U.S. Capitol and White House architect Benjamin Latrobe, the "Pen" opened its doors in 1800. Vice President Aaron Burr was incarcerated there in 1807 as he awaited trial for treason. The prison endured severe overcrowding, three fires, an earthquake and numerous riots. More than 240 prisonerswere executed there by electric chair. At one time, the ACLU called it the "most shameful prison in America." The institution was plagued by racial injustice, eugenics experiments and the presence of children imprisoned among adults. Join author Dale Brumfield as he charts the 190-year history of the iconic prison. 

Today, death sentences in the U.S. are as rare as lethal lightning strikes. Brandon Garrett shows us the reasons why, and explains what the failed death penalty experiment teaches about the effect of inept lawyering, overzealous prosecution, race discrimination, wrongful convictions, and excessive punishments throughout the criminal justice system.

About the authors:

Dale M. Brumfield is the Field Director for Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, a Richmond non-profit, as well as a digital archaeologist and the author of eight books. His work appears regularly in numerous publications, including the Staunton News Leader, the Rappahannock Review, USA Today, North of the James, Richmond Magazine and Style Weekly. His two books, Richmond Independent Press: A History of the Underground Zine Scene and Independent Press in Virginia and D.C.: An Underground History, were both nominated for Library of Virginia Literary Awards in nonfiction. Dale Lives in Doswell, Virginia.

Brandon Garrett teaches law at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he has been a professor since 2005. His research on our criminal justice system has ranged from the lessons to be learned from cases where innocent people were exonerated by DNA tests, to research on false confessions, forensics, and eyewitness memory, to the difficult compromises that prosecutors reach when targeting the largest corporations in the world.