The Warping Effects of
Race and Poverty
THERE WERE, at the last count available to me, 114 persons under sentence of death in the United States. Of these, 61, substantially more than half, were black; three were American Indians. No statistics are available to me that show it, but anyone at all familiar with the subject would know that all or almost all of the 114 are poor, at least in the frame of reference wherein the expenses of effectual defense against crime are to be calculated.
What does poverty mean when set against the background of the system of choices for life or death, described in the preceding chapters?
Most capital offenses are unbailable, or bail is set so high as to be absolutely inaccessible to any but the affluent. This means that in the capital case every kind of activity outside the jail-the marshaling of testimony, the