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"Dead Man Walking" comes to LSC-Kingwood

Sister Helen Prejean
Sister Helen Prejean

The death penalty is a highly debated topic in today’s society.

Various pros, cons and political views have been used to shape one’s opinion. In an effort to shed additional light on the system, Sister Helen Prejean will speak on her experiences with the death penalty and her recent visit with Pope Francis at Lone Star College-Kingwood on March 1 at 7 p.m. in the Student Conference Center (SCC). Prior to her presentation, the film “Dead Man Walking” will be shown at 4:30 p.m.

“We hope the audience will gain a new perspective regarding race, gender, class and inequality as it pertains to social justice…specifically the death penalty,” said Dr. Jennifer Chiotti, lead faculty and associate professor of criminal justice at LSC-Kingwood.

This highly anticipated event was created by current events surrounding concerns over the death penalty and the recent papal and Supreme Court’s opinions and comments. This event is hosted by the college’s Criminal Justice Department and the Center for Civic Engagement. It is free for students, employees and the community.

According to her bio, Prejean moved into the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans and began working at Hope House from 1981-1984. During this time, she was asked to correspond with a death row inmate Patrick Sonnier. Witnessing his execution lead to her first book, “Dean Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States”. It has since become a movie, an opera and a theatre production for high schools and colleges.

“The death penalty is one of the great moral issues facing our country, yet most people rarely think about it and very few of us take the time to delve deeply enough into this issue to be able to make an informed decision about it,” Prejean said on her website.

Since 1984, Prejean has divided her time between educating citizens about the death penalty and counseling individual death row prisoners. She has accompanied six men to their deaths.  In doing so, she began to suspect that some of those executed were not guilty. This realization inspired her second book, “The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions”. She is currently working on another book, “River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey”.

Sister Prejean will also speak on the death penalty at LSC-Tomball on March 2 at 7 p.m. with a showing of “Dead Man Walking” at 4:30 p.m. That event will be held in the Teaching Theatre. After the event on each campus, the audience can purchase autographed books for $15 per book or $25 for any two books.

For more information on this event, contact Dr. Jennifer Chiotti at Jennifer.M.Chiotti@LoneStar.edu. For more information on Sister Helen Prejean or her work, visit http://www.sisterhelen.org/.

Register now for credit classes online through myLoneStar.  Classes are offered days, evenings, or weekends in traditional, Internet, video, TV and independent study formats. For more information on how to register online, visit www.lonestar.edu/registration.

For general information about Lone Star College-Kingwood, call 281.312.1600 or visit http://lonestar.edu/kingwood.htm.

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation. Dr. Stephen C. Head is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.