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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 122400 Find in a Library
Title: Murder and Capital Punishment: A Monthly Time-Series Analysis of Execution Publicity
Journal: American Sociological Review  Volume:54  Dated:(October 1989)  Pages:722-743
Author(s): W C Bailey; R D Peterson
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 22
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Stack's recent analysis of the effect of execution publicity on homicides challenged the belief of most social scientists that capital punishment does not effectively deter murder.
Abstract: Stack found that publicized executions have a very significant deterrent effect. He reports that sixteen highly publicized executions may have saved as many as 480 innocent lives during 1950-1980. This present investigation seeks to shed more light on the execution publicity/deterrence question. The author's review of Stack's investigation shows that it suffers from several conceptual and methodological limitations. The authors find no evidence that execution publicity influenced the rate of homicide during the 1950-1980 period. Some evidence does suggest that higher levels of execution are associated with lower murder rates, but the apparent deterrent effect is slight and short term. The cumulative effect of capital punishment on homicides during the execution and following months is essentially nil. 6 tables, 16 notes, 2 appendixes, 56 references. (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Capital punishment; Time series
Index Term(s): Deterrence; Murder
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