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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118833 Find in a Library
Title: Coping With Death: Families of the Terminally Ill, Homicide Victims, and Condemned Prisoners (From Facing the Death Penalty, P 123-138, 1989, Michael L Radelet, ed. -- See NCJ-118827)
Author(s): M Vandiver
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Temple University Press
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6099
Sale Source: Temple University Press
1601 N. Broad Street
University Service Bldg., Room 305
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6099
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Families of terminally ill people, homicide victims, and offenders condemned to death face many problems and have major needs for information, help, and emotional support, but assistance is often limited or unavailable.
Abstract: Families of the terminally ill experience a period of anticipatory grief, heavy emotional and physical burdens during the illness, and immense grief after the death. Families of homicide victims must cope with tremendous shock as well as grief. Families of condemned prisoners experience years of anticipatory grief, a sense of injustice as a result of the selectivity with which the death penalty is imposed, anger at the nonspecific group responsible for the death, and the knowledge that their relatives' deaths are actively desired by much of the public. Hospitals and hospices can provide support for families of terminally ill patients, but homicide victims' families and families of condemned persons have far fewer supports. They often feel particularly isolated from other people and experience pain resulting from the legal processes and attention. The focus on victims' rights has benefited survivors, and self-help groups like Parents of Murdered Children offer support and understanding. However, support for the families of condemned inmates is nearly nonexistent. The families are widely scattered geographically and experience the stigma that affects the condemned prisoner. The prison is the main institution they encounter, and its atmosphere is never welcoming. However, some informal assistance is now available through the Family Support Project in Florida. Notes, case citation, and 39 references.
Main Term(s): Survivors services
Index Term(s): Families of crime victims; Families of inmates; Family support
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