A Life for a Life: The American Debate Over the Death Penalty

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McFarland, Aug 6, 2009 - Social Science - 215 pages
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Providing a new look at the intense public debate surrounding the death penalty in the United States, this book explores the various trends in public opinion that influence crime prevention efforts, create public policy, and reform criminal law. It examines eight core issues about the use of execution: cruel and unusual punishment, discrimination, deterrence, due process, culpability, scripture, innocence, and justice. It provides a brief history of capital punishment in the United States from the earliest known execution at the Jamestown Colony in 1608 to executions occurring as recently as 2008. Additional topics include the regionalization of capital punishment sentences, the spiritual and scriptural debate over the death penalty, the role of DNA evidence in modern execution sentences, and the ongoing effects of Furman v. Georgia, McClesky v. Kemp, Baze v. Rees, and other related court rulings.
 

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Contents

The Question of Cruel and Unusual
26
The Question of Discrimination
44
The Question of Deterrence
71
The Question of Culpability
81
The Question of Scripture
95
The Question of Innocence
104
The Question of Justice
114
The Current Situation
123
Appendices
143
Chapter Notes
185
Bibliography
195
Index
203
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About the author (2009)

Psychologist Michael Dow Burkhead has worked in varying capacities with criminal offenders for 25 years. He is the author of a number of articles regarding the treatment of mentally ill prisoners and the death penalty. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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