There are nearly one and a half million people locked behind bars in the United States. This is a threefold increase since 1980 and the numbers are rising by more than 8 per cent a year. Over 2,700 prisoners were under sentence of death in thirty–six states at the end of 1993. In that year thirty–eight people were executed, bringing to 226 the total number of prisoners executed since 1977. Four of the people executed were juvenile offenders aged seventeen at the time of their crimes. Racial discrimination is a major concern since half of those executed were black or of Latin American origin and 88 per cent had been convicted of the murder of white victims. The raw statistics reveal an unjust and discriminatory system which means that some people convicted of a homicide will receive the death penalty while others who commit identical or worse crimes will not.
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I have just spent a wonderful few minutes re-reading the best book review of the year in my opinion. It's by Piers Brendon in September's issue of @Lit_Review. Beautifully captioned as 'Jack the Lad', Brendon takes Fredrik Logevall's JFK: Vol.I apart! It's a laugh a minute. Ouch!
'Perhaps the real modern polymaths are the hidden ones who do not themselves grab the limelight but have the expertise to bring together different fields of knowledge: librarians, teachers, editors of literary journals…'
Jan Morris, who died last week, was a much-loved contributor to our pages. In 2017, she wrote a characteristically witty article about the different winds, their various personalities and how they had touched her life: https://literaryreview.co.uk/let-it-blow.