Unsurprisingly, much of the social science research agenda on the death penalty is centered in the United States, a country that permits federal government and state governments to use death as a punishment for homicide. Scholars designed the agenda to speak on issues thought to be important in the ongoing campaign against capital punishment. Here they have focused on the adequacy of the philosophical justifications and policy rationales offered in support of the death penalty, and have also examined the outcomes of capital punishment to determine whether the process lives up to certain legal and political standards. Recently the agenda of research has broadened with particular interest in understanding the social, political, and culture life of capital punishment. Scholars seek to understand the factors that shape and influence this particularly severe form of punishment. This volume is organized around two sets of concerns which emerge from the extant scholarly research agenda. These concerns are labeled 'influences' and 'outcomes'. The former attend to the social, political, and legal context that shapes the death penalty in the United States. The latter speaks to the results and impact of its use. The book contains exemplary articles that illustrate the influences on, and outcomes of the death penalty system in the United States.
Contents: Volume I: Philosophical and Policy Perspectives: Against the American system of capital punishment, Jack Greenberg ; Thinking of the death penalty as a cruel and unusual punishment, Hugo Adam Bedau; The death penalty once more, Ernest van den Haag; Deterrence and the death penalty: the views of the experts, Michael L. Radelet and Ronald L. Akers. Public Opinion: Public opinion, the death penalty and the 8th Amendment: testing the Marshall hypothesis, Austin Sarat and Neil Vidmar; Capital punishment and contemporary values: people's misgivings and the courts' misperceptions, William Bowers; Hardening of the attitudes: Americans' views on the death penalty, Phoebe C. Ellsworth and Samuel R. Gross; Update: American public opinion on the death penalty - it's getting personal, Samuel R. Gross. The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment: To see or not to see: television, capital punishment, and law's violence, Austin Sarat and Aaron Schuster; Celluloid death; cinematic depictions of capital punishment, Roberta M. Harding; The cultural life of capital punishment: responsibility and representation in Dead Man Walking and Last Dance, Austin Sarat. Outcomes - Fairness and Reliability: The quality of justice in capital cases: Illinois as a case study, Leigh B. Bienen; The execution of the innocent, Michael L. Radelet and Hugo Adam Bedau; Lost lives: miscarriages of justice in capital cases, Samuel R. Gross; Capital attrition: error rates in capital cases, 1973-1995, James S. Leiberman, Jeffrey Fagan, Valerie West and Jonathan Lloyd; The overproduction of death, James S. Lieberman; Name index. Volume II: Introduction. Outcomes - Racial Discrimination: Discrimination, death and denial: the tolerance of racial discrimination in infliction of the death penalty, Stephen B. Bright ; Racial discrimination and the death penalty in the post-Furman era; an empirical and legal overview, with recent findings from Philadelphia, David C. Baldus, George Woodworth, David Zuckerman