Walsh University held a four-part lecture series in October focusing on the personal and legal history of the death penalty in the U.S. and methods for promoting its elimination. The series started with a showing of the 1995 film "Dead Man Walking" that was based on Sister Helen Prejean’s book "Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty that Sparked a National Debate."
The last of the series was held on Oct. 26 with a lecture titled, "The Quandary between Restorative and Retributive Justice," with speakers, Walsh Provost Dr. Laurence Bove and local attorney Dean Carro. Other talks included author, speaker and opponent of the death penalty, Jeanne Bishop. She authored the book "Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer."
Dr. Will Cooley, associate professor of history at Walsh, and Judge Taryn L. Heath hosted one evening and talked about the dilemmas surrounding the implementation of the death penalty. The evening was co-sponsored by the Criminal Justice Committee in association with Coming Together Stark County.
The series was part of the First Year Institute and Lifelong Learning Academy at Walsh. The Oct. 26 presentation was focused on whether the aim of justice is punishment or restorative. Both presenters provided case-studies and talked about the quandary faced when identifying and applying aspects of justice that seek to punish and/or restore.
"Each semester, we put together a variety of programs with professors from Walsh and other speakers that we believe the community will have an interest," said Rabbi John Spitzer, director of Jewish-Catholic Institute and the Wilkof Jewish Studies Project. "Our goal with the Lifelong Learning Academy is to encourage the ongoing study of adults in our community by offering stimulating, high-level courses offered free to the community. (Oct. 26 was) the last presentation in this series. The speakers will discuss whether we punish people to make them whole again or do we punish people because we are angry."
The two speakers asked questions of the audience. Bove presented the theoretical side of the issue while Carr presented the practical side. They also presented details on how the issues surrounding the criminal justice systems effects everyone. The audience heard what justice is and what retribution and retaliation is versus restorative justice.
Between 30 and 40 people attended the lecture which was held in the Barrett Business and Community Center.
For more information about the Lifelong Learning Academy or to see the programming schedule, visit the website at https://www.walsh.edu/lifelong-learning-academy.