Cover image for Women and the death penalty in the United States, 1900-1998
Women and the death penalty in the United States, 1900-1998
O'Shea, Kathleen A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 404 pages ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1270 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV9466 .O74 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Using a historical framework, this book offers not only the penal history of the death penalty in the states that have given women the death penalty, but it also retells the stories of the women who have been executed and those currently awaiting their fate on death row.

This work takes a historical look at women and the death penalty in the United States from 1900 to 1998. It gives the reader a look at the penal codes in the various states regarding the death penalty and the personal stories of women who have been executed or who are currently on death row. As Americans continue to debate the enforcement of the death penalty, the issues of race and gender as they relate to the death penalty are also debated. This book offers a unique perspective to a recurring sociopolitical issue.

Author Notes

KATHLEEN A. O'SHEA is a social worker who does criminal justice research on female prisoners with a focus on women and the death penalty. She is the editor of Female Offenders: An Annotated Bibliography published by Greenwood Press in 1996.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this interesting and provocative book O'Shea has compiled scattered statistical information on past and current death row inmates. Though the main focus is on women and the death penalty, the factual accounts provide unforgettable insights into the darkest secrets of the criminal justice system in carrying out executions. The first chapter offers an interesting history of the execution of women. The remaining chapters mainly cover embarrassing yet chilling details of the execution of women in 29 states. The account of each state includes men as well as women who have been executed, how they were executed, and what the final moments were like. This disturbing book makes readers revisit and rethink the execution of human beings. At times, this reviewer felt he had a front row seat witnessing the emotions and feelings of women and men sentenced to death. O'Shea discusses hangings that faltered, where those executed were decapitated in error or did not die, electric chairs that either overworked or did not kill, as well as gas chambers and lethal injections that did not work properly. Simply stated, the book begins to unravel on an emotional level the arguments for the death penalty. Highly recommended for general readers, undergraduates, and above. P. J. Venturelli Valparaiso University

Table of Contents

History and Execution of Women
Alabama: Electrocution
Arizona: Gas/Lethal Injection
Arkansas: Electrocution/Lethal Injection
California: Gas/Lethal Injection
Connecticut: Lethal Injection
Delaware: Lethal Injection/Hanging Federal Jurisdiction
Florida: Electrocution
Georgia: Electrocution
Idaho: Lethal Injection/Firing
Squad Illinois: Lethal Injection
Indiana: Lethal Injection
Kentucky: Electrocution
Louisiana: Lethal Injection
Maryland: Gas/Lethal Injection
Massachussetts: No Death Penalty
Mississippi: Gas/Lethal Injection
Missouri: Lethal Injection
Nevada: Lethal Injection
New Jersey: Lethal Injection
New York: Lethal Injection
North Carolina: Gas/Lethal Injection
Ohio: Gas/Lethal Injection
Oklahoma: Lethal Injection
Pennsylvania: Lethal Injection South
Carolina: Lethal Injection/Electrocution
Tennessee: Electrocution
Texas: Lethal Injection
Virginia: Lethal Injection
Vermont: No Death Penalty