Sister Helen Prejean has been on a mission to end the death penalty for three decades. The Roman Catholic nun rose to fame after the success of her book and the subsequent 1995 film adaptation, "Dead Man Walking."
A young Prejean, right, and her sister Mary Ann with their father. She grew up, she says, in a privileged home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, oblivious to the racism and poverty around her.
In her youth, Prejean jokes, a Catholic woman had two choices: get married or become a nun. She picked the latter and joined the Congregation of St. Joseph in 1957.
Prejean on the set with Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins during the filming of "Dead Man Walking."
Prejean visits Dobie Gillis Williams on death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in 1996. Williams, who had an IQ of 65 and was convicted by an all-white jury, was executed in 1999. Prejean says he was innocent.
Prejean's sister Mary Ann and brother Louie accompanied her to Notre Dame University when she won the 1996 Laetare Medal, awarded for outstanding service to the Catholic church and society.
Prejean speaks to the media after Lori Urs, right, married Joseph O'Dell just hours before his execution in Virginia in 1997. Prejean believes O'Dell was innocent, too.
Prejean visited Karla Faye Tucker, who was executed in 1998 for murders. Tucker said she got sexual gratification from the killings but later became a Christian. Prejean thought the clemency board ought to have considered the change in Tucker.
Prejean wrote her second book, "The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions" in Montana. In it, she challenges Justice Antonin Scalia's support for the death penalty and questions his Catholic faith.
Prejean, right, talks with James Allridge's attorney Jim Marcus after the execution of his client in 2004. Allridge had asked for clemency based on apparent rehabilitation and a quest for redemption. Prejean believes Texas should have looked at those factors because its capital statute emphasizes, as it did in Allridge's death sentence, the "future dangerousness" of the convicted.
Prejean was by Gov. Jon Corzine's side in 2007 as he signed a bill to repeal the death penalty in New Jersey, the first state to abolish executions through legislation since it was reinstated in 1976.
Prejean speaks to an audience at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, in 2012. Even at 75, she's on the road many days a year speaking to audiences about why she believes the death penalty is wrong.