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Rather than providing closure, death penalty adds more trauma for families of murder victims

From Naseem Rakha’s “Capital punishment: Muhammad and the ‘Closure’ Myth“:

Stanford University psychiatrist David Spiegel believes that the theory that executions provide closure is “naive, unfounded, pop-psychology.” Contrary to expectations, Spiegel says, witnessing executions not only fails to provide closure but also often causes symptoms of acute stress. “Witnessing trauma,” he says, “is not far removed from experiencing it.”

Spiegel has concluded that “true closure is achieved only through extensive grief work.” This process requires families to acknowledge and bear their loss as well as to put it into perspective. It necessitates a network of support systems: counselors who will sit with, listen to and work with survivors; work environments flexible enough to accommodate counseling sessions and the down time that is a natural result of grief and stress; and victim assistance programs that make sure those things happen.

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