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Is 'the Penalty' worth the price? Lifting the lid on the death penalty

Last year, I set out across America with a small team of filmmakers to find out what it was like to be innocent and on death row.

148 people have been released from death rows throughout America – that’s one person for every ten the US has executed.  We focused on the stories of ten of them to understand how people could end up there and what problems there are with the justice system.

The project - One For Ten - turned out to be a hit, getting nominated for a webby and winning awards. And it was a hit with all of you as Amnesty members sent us questions, thoughts and comments whilst we filmed. Many of you joined us at screenings and Q&As and helped us shape the films we produced.

But we left that project with many more questions than we anticipated.

What about the costs of executions? Is death penalty use distributed equally across States that use it? What toll does it take on all involved, not just those on the row?

We had to go back and try our best to answer them. So we’ve set out to make a new 90 minute feature length documentary, which has become The Penalty which is about half way through filming. The film seeks to lift the lid on the human cost of the death penalty, pulling back the curtain on the people who are touched by capital punishment every day, but who are often far from death row. We follow the tentacles of the death penalty as they wrap their way around lawyers, innocent men, victims' families and the political landscape.

As well as finding the first-hand stories, we're trying to go behind the headlines to hear the truth about capital punishment. We're want to look at the choices we've made as a society to keep allowing the state to pass the ultimate judgement. Here's a sneak peak of some footage we've shot about the cost of the death penalty.

Help us spread the word

As we did with the One for Ten project, we want your input and help to make this film. If you think this is a debate worth having, get in touch with us on twitter and facebook. And help us spread the word and donate a tweet or facebook.

You’ll be able to keep up with the project at

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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