In January 1982 a member of the Prison Coalition in America asked Sister Helen Prejean whether she would agree to correspond with a convicted murderer awaiting execution in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. When she said yes she found herself in the midst of one of the greatest moral controversies in America today: the question of the death penalty. In this account of her relationships with two death-row inmates, we see at first hand Sister Helen's horror at the brutality of their crimes and her discovery that they are nonetheless human beings themselves and that killing them is itself a violation of moral principle. She meets with the victims' families and knows the rage and frustration that has led many of them to insists on the death penalty. She confronts us with the terror of those waiting on death row, with the grief and anger of families tortured by their unbearable memories, and by the unease of wardens, executioners, and politicians.