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Sister Helen Prejean is shown on a previous visit to Delaware, a state in which capital punishment is practiced.

  Anti-Death Penalty Foe Helen Prejean to Speak at DSU March 18


               Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean, a nationally known anti-death penalty advocate and book author, will be a guest speaker at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18 in room 139A in the Mishoe Science Center at Delaware State University.

The event is free and open to the public.

Sister Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun from New Orleans, La., has been a prominent anti-death penalty advocate since she became a spiritual advisor to a number of death row inmates in that state in the 1980s. She authored the 1993 book Dead Man Walking, which details her experiences in ministering to condemned inmates, her time with them during their last days and her witness of their executions. The book was on the New York Times bestseller list for 31 weeks and was made into a movie that won an Academy Award for Best Actress for Susan Sarandon who portrayed Sister Prejean.

Sister Prejean's book Dead Man Walking was made into an Academy Award winning 1995 movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.

In late 2004, Sister Prejean published a second book, The Death of Innocents: And Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, in which she tells the story of condemned inmates who were both executed, but who Sister Prejean also argues were innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. In the book she examines how flaws inextricably entwined in the death penalty system inevitably lead to innocent people being executed and render the system unworkable.

The Roman Catholic sister has witnessed five executions in Louisiana and travels the world to educate the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing and writing. As the founder of “Survive,” a victim’s advocacy group in New Orleans, she continues to counsel not only inmates on death row, but the families of murder victims, as well.

Sister Helen has served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty from 1985–1995, and has served as chairperson of the Board from 1993–1995. She is also a member of Amnesty International and an honorary member of Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation. She presently is the honorary chairperson of Moratorium Campaign, a group gathering signatures for a world-wide moratorium on the death penalty.