Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Miracles, Inc.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Miracles, Inc.

A Novel

by T. J. Forrester

Miracles, Inc. by T. J. Forrester X
Miracles, Inc. by T. J. Forrester
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Feb 2011, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

This article relates to Miracles, Inc.

Print Review

Death Row Syndrome
According to Amnesty International's 2009 report, the USA's 37 legal executions in 2008 placed it fourth in the world after China (1718), Iran (346) and Saudi Arabia (102). However, this ranking needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as it does not adjust for population size; and does not take into account additional executions that may have taken place away from the public eye in many of the countries listed. Having said that, it is nonetheless interesting to note that the USA is one of the few so called developed nations to maintain the death penalty in both law and practice, as can be seen by this map.

The European Court of Human Rights has condemned the death penalty as inhumane, most especially that portion of it that keeps inmates (including the more than 3000 currently on death row in the USA) in a stasis-like environment for a protracted period of time. Psychologists and lawyers have asserted that living for a prolonged period of time in the confines of death row can lead to a psychotic state, known as death row phenomenon or death row syndrome, which is triggered by three key factors: a lengthy time period between sentencing and execution, austere living conditions (such as an isolated six-by-ten foot cell) and the knowledge of living under the sentence of death.

In Connecticut in 2005, attorneys for death row inmate Michael Ross requested a stay of execution on the grounds that he had clinical death row syndrome. While on death row Ross had attempted suicide on three separate occasions, indicated repeatedly that he wished to waive his state and federally mandated appeals, and had "volunteered" for execution. Although the diagnosis was not entered into court records (no actual psychological diagnosis exists for the syndrome) it was nonetheless asserted that eighteen years on death row had, in effect, driven the man insane. The plea was denied and Ross was executed several months later.

Even without clinical psychological substantiation there are a number of social scientific papers that present compelling information about the effects of death row phenomenon. Perhaps most relevant are a few admittedly limited but consistent studies that have identified certain predictable patterns that condemned convicts use to cope with brutal confinement such as denial, projection, and obsessive rumination. Additionally it is said that other psychological characteristics consistent among death row inmates are powerlessness, fear, and finally "emotional emptiness" or a sense of death that emerges in the form of loneliness, apathy, passivity and decay.

Despite widespread concern about the psychological toll, among other elements, of the death penalty, advocates of capital punishment cite the United States Supreme Court's decision in Gregg v. Georgia: "Indeed, the decision that capital punishment may be the appropriate sanction in extreme cases is an expression of the community's belief that certain crimes are themselves so grievous an affront to humanity that the only adequate response may be the penalty of death."

This "beyond the book article" relates to Miracles, Inc.. It first ran in the February 3, 2011 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    by Patrick Ness
    Patrick Ness has developed a reputation for experimental literature executed well, and his latest, ...
  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...
  • Book Jacket: A Spark of Light
    A Spark of Light
    by Jodi Picoult
    The central premise of A Spark of Light involves a gunman holding hostages within the confines of a ...
  • Book Jacket: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    by Hank Green
    As one half of the extremely popular YouTube duo "Vlogbrothers" (the other half being his brother ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim

    Two sisters grow up bound by family but separated by war; inspired by a true story.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Paris Echo
    by Sebastian Faulks

    A story of resistance, complicity, and an unlikely, transformative friendship.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

An offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire that is featured on more than twenty 2018 "Must Read" lists!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.