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Deterrence and the Death Penalty

NCJ Number
238584
Date Published
Author(s)
Daniel S. Nagin, John V. Pepper
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Annotation
This report from the National Research Council examines the results of research on the deterrent effect of the death penalty on homicide rates in this country.
Abstract
The primary aim of this report was to assess whether previous research has adequately assessed the deterrent effect of the death penalty on homicide rates. The report examined previous studies that focused on this issue to evaluate the underlying reasons for the differing conclusions reached by the studies. The findings from these studies have ranged from the conclusion that the threat of capital punishment deters murders to the finding that executions have no effect on murder rates. This report from the Committee on Law and Justice at the National Research Council examines the results of the research and concludes that the research to date is not useful in determining the deterrent effect of the death penalty on homicide rates because the studies have not accounted for the possible effect of noncapital punishments on homicide rates. The report is divided into six chapters: 1. Introduction; 2. Capital Punishments in the Post-Gregg Era; 3) Determining the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Key Issues; 4) Panel Studies; 5) Time-Series Studies; and 6) Challenges to Identifying Deterrent Effects. Recommendations for new avenues of research on the deterrent effects of both capital and noncapital punishments on homicide rates are discussed. Tables, figures, references, and appendix
Date Created: October 23, 2013