SAGE Journal Articles

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Lambert, E. G., Camp, S. D., Clarke, A., & Jiang, S. (July 2011). The Impact of Information on Death Penalty Support, Revisited. Crime & Delinquency, 57(4), 572-599.

This article examines data used by Lambert and Clarke (2001). Using multivariate analyses, the impact that information has on death penalty support is tested, along with level of prior knowledge about the death penalty, personal characteristics (gender, age, political affiliation, race, being a criminal justice major, academic level), and religious factors. The results suggest that information on both deterrence and innocence leads to a reduction in death penalty support and views on the death penalty and that the information presented may have varying effects among different subgroups of people.

  1. What are the authors examining?
  2. Did the data support the authors’ hypotheses? If so, which ones?
  3. Are the authors’ findings generalizable?

Learning objective(s): List the limitations on the death penalty


Kaufman-Osborn, T. V. (July 2006). A Critique of Contemporary Death Penalty Abolitionism. Punishment & Society, 8(3), 365-383.

This essay seeks to show what is occluded by contemporary arguments in favor of abolishing the death penalty in the United States. The essay interrogates a pair of presuppositions that are implicit in all. Specifically, the essay first poses questions regarding the contention that death as a punishment is qualitatively different from all others. That contention abstracts capital punishment from the complex of contemporary political forces whose conjuncture goes a long way toward explaining the persistence of the death penalty in the United States. Second, the essay argues that familiar critiques of capital punishment presuppose a specific vision of the state and the form of sovereignty that allegedly defines that state.

  1. Identify some of the arguments for the abolition of the death penalty.
  2. What conception of sovereignty is used by the ACLU, and how does it differ from modern day sovereignty?

Learning Objective(s): List the limitations on the death penalty