The death penalty is the barest, most explicit aspect of state violence. Relatively few people are sentenced to death, and even fewer are actively, legally killed by the state but the death penalty persists as an assertion of the sovereign right to take life or to let live. This week on Kite Line, we’ll begin examining the history and experience of death row, with contributions from Bomani Shakur, a prison rebel sentenced to death for his alleged role in the Lucasville Uprising and from Patrick Pursley who had faced the death penalty, but was instead sentenced to life without parole and who has recently been exonerated. We will also share a historical analysis of state executions. In the light of recent struggles around execution in Arkansas and elsewhere, our goal is to help understand the death penalty as a strategy within the broader prison system and repressive apparatus.