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Prominent critic of the death penalty to speak tonight

One of America’s most prominent critics of the death penalty and a two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, the Rev. Joseph B. Ingle, will speak about his challenge to the death penalty at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, in Room 200 of Linderman Library at Lehigh.

His talk, which is titled “Lethal Injection as Torture,” is free and open to the public.

"In his 35 years working on death row, Joe Ingle has come to know America's prisons, court rooms and legal system. He has worked as a person of conscience to challenge the morality of the death penalty, and he has worked closely with legal teams to challenge the constitutionality of the death penalty system,” says Lloyd Steffen, University Chaplain, professor of religion studies and long-standing opponent of the capital punishment.

Steffen organized Ingle’s visit to campus in conjunction with his "Practical Justice" class, a service-learning course.

He said that Ingle’s talk will explore recent efforts to expose lethal injection as 'cruel and unusual punishment.'

“The medical details may not be for the faint of heart,” Steffen adds. “The details of the death penalty system are chilling, yet it is because they are not well understood by most Americans that we have invited Rev. Ingle to Lehigh.”

Ingle is the former director of the Southern Coalition on Jails and Prisons and founder of the Tennessee Committee against State Killing. Most recently, he served as the executive director of the Nashville-based Neighborhood Justice Center, an alternative conflict management center dedicated to restorative justice.

His work, which began in 1973 and continues to today, has taken him into Southern prisons and death rows and was chronicled in his book, “Last Rights: Thirteen Fatal Encounters with the State’s Justice.”

The late Pulitzer-Prize winning author William Styron said of Ingle: “His service in the cause of the abolition of the death penalty—one of the purest of all moral missions—has been steadfast and sometimes heroic, and his work will deserve honor long after that day when the executioner is finally stilled.”

Born in North Carolina, Ingle is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City and was a Harvard fellow in 1991.

-- Linda Harbrecht


Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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