Routledge Handbook on Capital Punishment  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook on Capital Punishment

ISBN 9781138651579
Published December 20, 2017 by Routledge
706 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Capital punishment is one of the more controversial subjects in the social sciences, especially in criminal justice and criminology. Over the last decade or so, the United States has experienced a significant decline in the number of death sentences and executions. Since 2007, eight states have abolished capital punishment, bringing the total number of states without the death penalty to 19, plus the District of Columbia, and more are likely to follow suit in the near future (Nebraska reinstated its death penalty in 2016). Worldwide, 70 percent of countries have abolished capital punishment in law or in practice. The current trend suggests the eventual demise of capital punishment in all but a few recalcitrant states and countries. Within this context, a fresh look at capital punishment in the United States and worldwide is warranted.

The Routledge Handbook on Capital Punishment comprehensively examines the topic of capital punishment from a wide variety of perspectives. A thoughtful introductory chapter from experts Bohm and Lee presents a contextual framework for the subject matter, and chapters present state-of-the-art analyses of a range of aspects of capital punishment, grouped into five sections: (1) Capital Punishment: History, Opinion, and Culture; (2) Capital Punishment: Rationales and Religious Views; (3) Capital Punishment and Constitutional Issues; (4) The Death Penalty’s Administration; and (5) The Death Penalty’s Consequences.

This is a key collection for students taking courses in prisons, penology, criminal justice, criminology, and related subjects, and is also an essential reference for academics and practitioners working in prison service or in related agencies.

Table of Contents


A. History

1. The American Death Penalty: A Short (But Long) History
John Bessler, University of Baltimore School of Law

2. Capital Punishment and Lynching
Margaret Vandiver, University of Memphis

B. Opinion

3. Public Opinion About the Death Penalty
James D. Unnever, University of South Florida, Sarasota, Manatee; Leah Butler, University of Cincinnati; Francis Cullen, University of Cincinnati; and Angela Thielo, University of Louisville

4. The Marshall Hypotheses
John Cochran, University of South Florida

C. Culture

5. Media and Capital Punishment
Matthew Robinson, Appalachian State University

6. Popular Media and the Death Penalty: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Death Penalty in Film
Maya Pagni Barak, University of Michigan, Dearborn

7. Why We Need the Death Penalty
Andrew Fulkerson, Southeastern Missouri State University


A. Rationales

8. Retribution
George Kain, Western Connecticut State University, and Dale Recinella, St. Mary Mother of Mercy

9. General Deterrence and Brutalization
Gennaro Vito, University of Louisville, and Anthony Vito, University of West Georgia

10. Incapacitation and Life without Parole
Jon Sorensen, Texas A&M University, Prairie View, and Thomas Reidy, ABPP

B. Religious Views

11. Christianity and the Death Penalty
Tobias Winright, St. Louis University

12. Judaism and the Death Penalty
Edna Erez, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Kathy Laster, Victoria University

13. Death Penalty in Sharia Law
Sanaz Alasti, Lamar University, and Eric Bronson, Lamar University


14. The U.S. Supreme Court and the Death Penalty
Katherine Bennett, Armstrong State University, and H. Chris Tecklenberg, Armstrong State University

15. Capital Punishment and Aggravating and Mitigating Circumstances
Carol Steiker, Harvard Law School, and Jordan Steiker, University of Texas Law School

16. Capital Offenders’ Intellectual Disability and "Insanity": Excluding and Delaying the Death Penalty
Peggy Tobolowsky, University of North Texas


17. The Financial Costs of the Death Penalty: Examining the Evidence
Gordon Waldo, Florida State University

18. Prosecutors and Capital Punishment
Stacy Parker, Muskingum University

19. Counsel for the Despised and Condemned: Capital Defense Attorneys
Jeffrey Kirchmeier, City University of New York School of Law

20. The Capital Jury and Sentencing: Neither Guided Nor Individualized
Wanda Foglia, Rowan University, and Marla Sandys, Indiana University Bloomington

21. The Penalty Phase of the Capital Murder Trial: A Social-Psychological Analysis
Mark Costanzo, Claremont McKenna College, and Zoey Costanzo, Cornell University

22. The Appellate Process in Capital Cases
Vanessa Woodward Griffin, University of West Georgia, and O. Hayden Griffin III, University of Alabama, Birmingham

23. Clemency: Failsafe or Fantasy?
Cathleen Burnett, University of Missouri, Kansas City

24. Execution Methods in a Nutshell
Deborah Denno, Fordham University

25. California’s Chaotic Death Penalty
Stacy Mallicoat, California State University, Fullerton; Brenda L. Vogel, California State University, Long Beach; and David Crawford, Death Penalty Focus

26. Reflections on the Abattoir - Texas
Dennis Longmire, Sam Houston State University, and Alex Updegrove, Sam Houston State University

27. The Federal Death Penalty
Stephanie Mizrahi, California State University, Sacramento

28. The Death Penalty and the United States Armed Forces
Catherine Grosso, Michigan State University


29. The Topography of Capital Punishment: Geographic Variations in Seeking, Achieving, and Carrying Out the Death Penalty
Adam Trahan, University of North Texas; Kaleigh B. Laird, University of North Texas; and Douglas N. Evans, Mercy College

30. Age, Class, and Sex Disparities in Capital Punishment
Etta Morgan, Jackson State University

31. Race and the Death Penalty
Kristie Blevins, Eastern Kentucky University, and Kevin Minor, Eastern Kentucky University

32. Wrongful Capital Convictions
Talia Roitberg Harmon, Niagara University, and Diana Falco, Niagara University

33. Life and Work on Death Row
Robert Johnson, American University

34. Capital Punishment and Victims’ and Offenders’ Families
Lynn Pazzani, University of West Georgia

35. Capital Punishment’s Co-Victims
Kyle Burgason, Iowa State University

36. Exoneration: Life After Death Row
Scott Vollum, University of Minnesota, Duluth

37. The Demise of the Death Penalty with Special Focus on the United States
Robert M. Bohm, University of Central Florida

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Robert M. Bohm, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida. He has published numerous books, book chapters, and journal articles in the areas of criminal justice and criminology. His books on capital punishment include DEATHQUEST: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Capital Punishment in the United States, 5th ed. (2017); America's Experiment with Capital Punishment: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Ultimate Sanction, 3rd ed. (with James R. Acker and Charles S. Lanier, 2014); Capital Punishment’s Collateral Damage (2013); The Past as Prologue: The Supreme Court’s Pre-Modern Jurisprudence and Its Influence on the Supreme Court’s Modern Death Penalty Decisions (2012); Ultimate Sanction: Understanding the Death Penalty Through Its Many Voices and Many Sides (2010); The Death Penalty Today (2008); and The Death Penalty in America: Current Research (1991). Professor Bohm is a Fellow of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (1999), and he previously served as the organization’s president (1992–1993). He also is the recipient of the Academy’s Founder's Award (2001) and Bruce Smith Sr. Award (2008).

Gavin Lee, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Criminology at the University of West Georgia. His research interests include the death penalty, serial murder, and criminological theory. His work has been published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice; the International Journal of Crime, Criminal Justice and Law; the Southwestern Journal of Criminology; and he has written several chapters in encyclopedia and edited works.


'The broad range of important themes and topics covered, all in one text, will be a valuable resource for students, researchers, and professionals. The editors have done excellent work in identifying a fairly wide readership and outlining a text that will appeal to that readership…In addition to the book being well-structured and including a range of important themes and issues around capital punishment, the chapters are authored by well-respected scholars. The collection of authors is impressive, and the book is sure to reflect current research and scholarship.'DJ Williams, Idaho State University