Jessica Blank and Erik JensenQuestions and Topics For Discussion
1. While interviewing Dale, Jessica and Erik ask him what he dreamt about while in prison. "He looked us straight on and told us that he'd never dreamt when he was in there—never." (p. 42) What connections can be drawn between dreams and captivity? What do you think you would dream about if you were on death row?
2. Jessica and Erik found their meeting with Delbert quite inspiring. Delbert told them “he was a free man during his time inside (prison), too.” (p. 57) What parallels can be drawn about the mental strength and exercises that have allowed some exonerated individuals to maintain their psychological and emotional stability while in prison?3.
As in Henry’s case, the special issues and circumstances of those who may have cognitive issues often go unrecognized or ignored. Do you believe that a cognitively challenged or mentally retarded person should be tried equally as a “normal” person? 4.
Both Jessica and Erik admit their backgrounds influenced their views on crime and justice. Do you think their beliefs had a negative effect, or did they make the couple more determined to write a balanced perspective?
5. How does race complicate the production of The Exonerated
? In what ways does race affect the nation’s view on the death penalty and the integrity of t