Is the Death Penalty an Effective Deterrent?

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Is the Death Penalty an Effective Deterrent?

Annotated Bibliography
PS 223 Forensic Psychology I

Research Question: Is the Death Penalty an Effective Deterrent?

Honeyman, J. C., & Ogloff, J. P. (1996). Capital punishment: Arguments for life and death. Canadian Journal Of Behavioural Science/Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement, 28(1), 27-35.

The main purpose of this article was to investigate the effects of the death penalty and the justification for the punishment. A key question the authors looked to answer was whether or not the participants arguments of what sentence to suggest to a person who committed a murder in the first degree effective in resulting in the death penalty. The main inference in this article is that the participants who voted more towards the death penalty, voted for it because of the retribution, economics, and the possible mistakes. Those who recommended the death penalty had higher scores on a measure of vengeance then those who picked life sentence. In this experiment there was 305 participants. A 2x6 design, with no argument, and no justification control condition was used. They were then asked to indicate what sentence they would recommend after they heard the scenario. They were also told to pick how confident they were with their decision and then complete a 20 item Vengeance Scales. Analyses were done to figure out whether or not participants demographic characteristics influenced their decisions. Participants who chose the death penalty seemed to be older then those who chose the life sentence. The limitations of this study was that they failed to provide more evidence to support the previous studies. Future research should include the death penalty attitudes and Vengeance Scales scores to act as a control for gender to avoid any possible cofound. Future research should be used to test the generalizability of findings of cases using the death penalty.

Bailey, W. C. (1978). Some further evidence on imprisonment vs. the death penalty as a deterrent to murder. Law And Human Behavior, 2(3), 245-260.

The main purpose of this article was to investigate the deterrent effect of imprisonment vs. the death penalty for murder. The key question authors looked to answer was whether or not the relationship between the certainty and severity of homicide rates, punishments, and sociodemographic variables were placed into a series of multiple regression analyses experimenting with different models of sanction offense rate relationship. The main inference in this article is that neither of the imprisonment or the certainty of execution provide an effective action on deterrents to murder. A series of least squares regressions and two stage regressions were used to determine the hypothesis. Limitations of this study were due to missing data, it was not possible to examine the deterrence hypothesis for each death penalty. Future research should include more variables and additional certainty of imprisonment data.

Edens, J. F., Buffington-Vollum, J. K., Keilen, A., Roskamp, P., & Anthony, C. (2005). Predictions of Future Dangerousness in Capital Murder Trials: Is It Time to 'Disinvent the Wheel?'. Law And Human Behavior, 29(1), 55-86.             The main purpose of this study is to determine the accuracy of clinical predictions that capital defendants will commit future acts of criminal violence. A key question the authors are looking to answer is whether or not most capitol defendants do in fact represent a continuing threat to society and to what extent prosecution experts can correctly identify them. The inference of this article is that court keeps letting unreliable opinions lead to violence risk. Limitations of this study were that not all cases were included. Also the reliance of an official TDCJ and SPU records as criterion measures. Future research was not noted.

Platania, J., & Moran, G. (1999). Due process and the...
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