Politics and the Death Penalty: 1930-2010
Recent theorists have argued that the use of the death penalty has been shaped by political considerations throughout history. However, empirical research has primarily examined this relationship in the last third of the twentieth century. In order to expand the temporal scope used to examine capital punishment practices, this study examines whether four post-Furman perspectives are able to account for the use of death sentences at the state level from 1930 to 2010. This study also examines whether the movement from the pre- to the post-Furman time period moderated the relationship between political factors and use of death sentences. The findings indicate that the size of religious fundamentalist populations, jurisdictional welfare expenditures, and surpluses in the labor force are significant predictors of death sentences across both eras. These results suggest that the predictive power of recent political theories is not restrained to the jurisdictional use of death sentences in the last third of the twentieth century.
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Capital punishment, Crime politics, Penal policy, Social threat
Amidon, Ethan. "Politics and the Death Penalty: 1930–2010." American Journal of Criminal Justice 43, no. 4 (2018): 831-860.
American Journal of Criminal Justice