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Waiting to Die: Life on Death Row [Paperback]

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Item description for Waiting to Die: Life on Death Row by Richard Michael Rossi...

An account of the challenging realities prisoners who are sentenced to die for their crimes must face examines the rules that govern death row inmates' lives, including medical neglect, inadequate food, and psychological abuse. Original.

Publishers Description
Written by an inmate condemned to Arizona's death row, this unique work describes in powerful detail the challenging realities for prisoners sentenced to die for their crimes. Through a disturbing narrative and rare glimpses into execution regulations, including prison forms and documents, this account reveals the core issues of one of the most controversial and enduring social issues in America today. Examining the rules that govern every aspect of death row inmates' life, this volume describes a world of horrendous medical neglect, dangerous and taxing work on chain gangs, inadequate food, and unrelenting psychological abuse by the prison authorities. A precise and sinister tale, it explores the world of more than 3,500 condemned men and women who will die through lethal injection or a gas chamber.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   237
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2004
Publisher   Vision
ISBN  1904132529  
ISBN13  9781904132523  

Availability  0 units.

More About Richard Michael Rossi

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Richard M. Rossi was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1983. He is an inmate on Arizona's death row and writes articles, anecdotes, and poems about prison conditions for anti–death penalty publications. He is incarcerated in Florence, Arizona.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Law > Criminal
2Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Social Sciences > Criminology
3Books > Subjects > Law > Criminal Law > General
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Crime & Criminals > Criminology
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Crime & Criminals > Penology
7Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General
8Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > True Stories > True Crime
9Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Law > Criminal Law > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Waiting to Die: Life on Death Row?

Eloquent yet...  Aug 1, 2008
To Mr. Rossi's credit, he didn't pretend that he was innocent and he didn't make excuses for what he did. He murdered someone while committing another felony and ended up on death row. What made his case quite interesting is that he was very obviously intelligent and quite eloquent. Much of what I would call "death row literature", by writers such as Helen Prejean or David Von Drehle focuses on the system and the questionable representation of their subjects, innocense vs guilt, the racial questions etc.

"Waiting to die" was written from the inside and focuses on the conditions and treatment of those on Arizona's death row. It's not always an easy read. Certainly, an insiders look at the day-to-day life, and it is a very dull life, is quite fascinating. To have lived for years in the same cell, with the same routine and what can only be described as mind-numbing boredom is disturbing, as are the conditions which sent the author there.

That said, I was left with the impression that Mr Rossi, while sorry for what he did, felt more sorry for the conditions he was suffering. Though he did not come out and say it, there is a sense of "yes, I know what I did and I am sorry, but what they're doing to ME...". He was certainly not being tortured, at least not physically. For anyone with any mental capacity, death row's boredom must be psychological torture, but it was hard to feel sorry for someone who seemed a little too much the victim himself.

I should mention that I am anti-death penalty, so the thought of the end that awaited the writer is unfathomable to me. Yet I make no excuses. He was sentenced as called for by law. I can disagree until the end of time about whether or not it's appropriate, but this is a book review and not a discussion on the death penalty.

Overall, it's an interesting read. There isn't much like this out there if you're interested in life behind bars. Life Sentences is an excellent book on the subject. This one is okay, from the standpoint of being an interesting picture of death row life. I'm not sure it works well as an argument for whether the author deserved better, though he said it was not supposed to be about that, he couldn't but help let his feelings show.

What this book definitely demonstrates is how a life can be wasted so quickly and easily. Mr Rossi was a very talented individual. He died before he could be executed.
Dissolutioned...  Dec 30, 2005
Rossi's inability to look at his situation from his victims' and society's point of view is somewhat understandable seeing as how he obviously lacks the capability of critical thinking. After all, this inability is what handed him his current residential predicament. He does reiterate several times throughout the book that he takes responsibility for the heinous crime associated with his death sentence, however he falls short of delivering any real sense of regret for the crime itself. Sort of, "Okay - yeah I killed someone but look at what I'VE had to endure....".

I was disappointed that there wasn't more of an insight into daily routines and mental and emotional transitions that a death row inmate makes after years of reflection. This book was more a sponsorship of prison reform than anything else.

What I was able conclude about my own views after reading Rossi's account: 1) I remain an opponent of the death penalty, 2) I strongly support legislation regarding Life Without Parole sentences, 3) I firmly support humane treatment in our penal systems but do not support country club style institutions. Prison is a place for people who have victimized and violated codes of trust within our society. The more violent the crime, the more restrictive a person's sentence should be. We shouldn't forget the men and women that must protect against and for the prisoners. Many inmates have nothing to lose (death row inmates) and are mentally capable of doing whatever they deem necessary to free themselves. Remember the escape attempt Rossi describes? Restrictions and structure are absolutely necessary to protect inmates from each other and to secure the prison staff. Death row inmates have already committed crimes that are considered especially heinous.

Although I would like to someday see Rossi removed from death row, I hope that he never walks as a free man in our society again.
boring  Oct 29, 2005
If you are looking for something that is nice and happy, you won't be able to find it in this book. Waiting to Die is a first hand account of a death row prisoner's life told by Richard Michael Rossi. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Rossi began to develop an addiction to cocaine and amphetamine. He becomes clean, but once again picks up the habit when he moves to Arizona. While on a cocaine high, he shoots a guy over a dispute about a typewriter. This eventually lands him behind bars. Rossi describes the inhumane treatment of the prisoners in Arizona's death row. He blames the politicians for taking away their privileges and making life even harder for them. Rossi complains about their inadequate food, medical neglect, and the abuse from the prison guards. I found this book rather boring and hard to sympathize for those prisoners, after all they did do something to land them there in the first place. In Rossi's case, his actions can not be justified. Even though he was high on cocaine, he still took the life of another human being. Along with that, the book was not well written, it lacked the professionalism that makes a book, a piece of art.
Bring a Hankie to this Pity Party  Aug 30, 2005
I am a lover of good non-fiction...discovering new worlds and the learning about the lives of real people and their experiences. That was my anticipation when I purchased "Waiting to Die"...I thought I would get some juicy insight into prison life and gain a better understanding of what life is like "on the inside". What I got was ~150 pages of whining and complaining from Mr. Rossi. He spends lengthy sections of this book trying to convince his readers how terrible prisoners are treated on death row ('s prison), and how these conditions are a result of mean-spirited politicians and a corrupt and inept judicial system. I was looking for insight into prison life...what I got was a 150 page diatribe on how inmates are victimized, mistreated, and lonely, and how America lacks morality and conscience.

Warning...I NEVER write reviews on books or anything, but I'm taking the time to write this one. DO NOT BUY THIS TRASH!
Amazing insight in the Injustice system  Aug 10, 2005
This book is a good read, a deep and insightful book, it is harsh at times, it is sometimes unbelievable to read what happens in the lives of incarcerated people. We all have to read this book, to see what warehousing all these millions of people does to us as a society. Do we really want to treat other human beings this way. This is a good read for anybody interested in the subject of Human Interest, politics, human rights issues etc. It is worth reading, and it is certainly going to touch the heart of all readers.
It has definitely convinced me once and for all that the death penalty serves no purpose in a modern day society.

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