"Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough" is Now Available!

The Other Death Penalty Project is proud to announce our new book, “Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough,” an anthology of writings by life without parole prisoners and others powerfully depicting why life without parole is the death penalty. The anthology is the culmination of two years of intense work by the Project, including conducting a nationwide writing contest judged by noted author and prison reform activist Luis J. Rodriguez, who has written a preface for the book.


The Other Death Penalty Project was awarded a generous grant from the Peace Development Fund, which paid for the publication costs of the book. Through this grant, and as part of a larger campaign to educate those in positions of power about LWOP as the death penalty (funded by the Left Tilt Fund,  the Sisters of St. Francis of PhiladelphiaResist, Inc., the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, and the United Church of Christ Neighbors in Need Fund), 750 copies of “Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough” will be placed on the desks of policymakers, judges, and thought leaders nationwide, including death penalty abolitionists who argue for LWOP as a “reasonable alternative” to traditional forms of execution.


“Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough” is now available! Please click here to order your copy. All proceeds from book sales will support the ongoing and vital work of The Other Death Penalty Project.


Our Mission

A sentence of life without the possibility of parole is a death sentence. Worse, it is a long, slow, dissipating death sentence without any of the legal or administrative safeguards rightly awarded to those condemned to the traditional forms of execution. It exposes our society’s concealed beliefs that redemption and personal transformation are not possible for all human beings, and that it is reasonable and just to forever define an individual by his worst act. Life without the possibility of parole is wrong and should be abolished.


The Other Death Penalty Project’s immediate goals are to raise awareness of the basic unfairness of the life without parole sentence and to organize the tens of thousands of men and women serving “the other death penalty.” Our ultimate goal is to see the permanent end to the use of this form of state-sanctioned execution (along with all other forms), resulting in all life term prisoners having, at least, the possibility of parole.


The Other Death Penalty Project is led and comprised solely of prisoners serving life without the possibility of parole. We are thankful to those free people who have offered us their invaluable help.


Please note that The Other Death Penalty Project cannot offer legal advice of any kind.



What's New

Be sure to watch "Toe Tag Parole:  To Live and Die on Yard A" on the HBO Documentary Channel, airing on Monday, August 3, 2015 at 9 pm PST. The film, by award winning documentarians Susan and Alan Raymond, features Executive Director Kenneth E. Hartman and others in the Honor Program at California State Prison-Los Angeles County.  Watch the trailer here.  

"Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough" was selected as a Finalist in the Anthology category in the 2013 Foreword Review's Book of the Year Awards!  This latest success is further testament to the inherent worth and humanity of the more than 49,000 men and women sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in this country.  Click here to read the May 5, 2014 press release announcing this honor.

Friends and families of LWOP prisoners will find Ken Hartman's March 2014 article, "Your Loved One Was Sentenced To Life Without The Possibility of Parole," extremely helpful.  Read it below.

Adobe Acrobat Document [3.2 MB]

The Other Death Penalty Project is collaborating with Marion Vannier, a research doctoral student at Oxford University in the UK, who is working on a study of LWOP prisoners in California. In February 2014, we mailed over 800 copies of the study materials to LWOP prisoners in California, so their voices can be heard through this very important project.  View the materials here.

Read our new message to our imprisoned members and their freeworld supporters!

Check out Executive Director Kenneth E. Hartman's powerful piece, "Why California Must Abandon Eternal Punishment," published November 2, 2013 on the Justice Not Jails website.

Read Judith Tannenbaum's excellent review of "Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough" in the October 2013 edition of The Campaign to End the Death Penalty's newsletter, The New Abolitionist.

"Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough" is now IndieReader approved!  Click here to read the review.

On July 9, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that life without parole sentences amount to inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners. Read the full ECHR ruling here.

On May 9th, 2013, “Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough” was selected as the Anthology Division Gold Medal Winner for the Independent Publishers Awards! Click here for more details.

Send your imprisoned family member or friend updated information on The Other Death Penalty Project's current activities and plans for the future.  Click here to download and print the electronic version of the postcard recently mailed to all prisoners in our database.

Listen to The Other Death Penalty Project founder and Executive Director Kenneth E. Hartman's address to the July 2012 meeting of the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus. Ken participated from prison in "Dead Men Walking," a panel discussion held at the Caucus meeting about California's Prop 34, which sought to abolish lethal injection and replace it with life without parole (death by incarceration).

MP3 Audio File [5.2 MB]