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The Ripple Effect: How the Death Penalty Acts as an Agent of Re-Traumatization

By Mehdia Mrabet

Mehdia Mrabet (UT-Austin 2019) finished her fall 2017 TAVP internship by writing a research paper exploring the traumatic impacts of the death penalty on the families of both murder victims and death-sentenced individuals. She writes, “The fact of the matter is that there is no reform to the death penalty process that could render re-traumatization to be non-existent. No matter what, the state is still executing a person who has a family that will inevitably be impacted by this loss, and the family member of the murder victims will still be reminded of their loss, even if they choose not to be involved in the capital punishment process. Instead, the criminal justice system must take on a more empathetic approach that does not consider the family members of criminals to be disposable.” Mehdia writes about many of the themes that influence our research here at TAVP, and we hope you will take a look at this excellent example of the work our interns are doing.

Image: Ireland Beazley discusses the impact of his son’s execution during his interview with TAVP.