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A Phenomenological Analysis of Death Row Inmates’ Last Words

Iram Amjad, Muhammad Shaban Rafi

The study examines the lived experiences of the death row inmates to
trace their traumas, fears and pain of the inflicted punishment of execution.
Husserl’s (1970) notion of intentionality and Heidegger’s (1975) concept of
existentialism under the umbrella of phenomenological constructivism
were used to explore the post-penalty feelings of the death row inmates. A
sample of 20 letters written by the death row inmates was selected to
address the research questions. It was found that the last words do not
simply reflect expressions and feelings of remorse, guilt, fear and
repentance but also document that crime mainly belonged to the
marginalized section of society. This study suggests preservation of the last
words in the form of an official document for prisoner’s education system
that would eventually help reduce ideation of crimes.

Keywords: Last words, death row experiences, phenomenological
constructivism and criminology.