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NCJ Number: 78685 Find in a Library
Title: Deterrence and the Death Penalty for Murder in Utah - A Time-Series Analysis
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Law  Volume:5  Dated:(Winter 1978)  Pages:1-20
Author(s): W C Bailey
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 20
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: To provide a more sound understanding of the deterrence hypothesis for the death penalty in Utah, the relationship between execution rates and homicide rates is examined over an extended period (1910-1962).
Abstract: To compare this study's findings with previous studies, multiple measures of the certainty of the death penalty were used. Both the linear and possible nonlinear relationship between executions and homicide were examined, and selected sociodemographic variables were introduced to control for the possible spuriousness of the findings of a relationship between execution and homicide rates. Contrary to the deterrence argument but consistent with most previous studies, no evidence was found that the certainty of execution has provided an effective deterrent to murder in Utah. Regardless of the measure used or the presumed form (linear or nonlinear) of the relationship between executions and homicide, certainty of the death penalty was not found to be significantly related to the offense rate. Further, with slight variations, each of the sociodemographic control variables (percentages of male population, age 20-40, nonwhite population, unemployed, and urban population) consistently proved to be a better predictor of homicides than the certainty of execution. This finding is consistent with earlier studies. If capital punishment is to continue in Utah, it must be justified on grounds other than deterrence of homicide. Tabular data and 31 footnotes are provided. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Deterrence; Economic influences; Homicide; Social conditions; Time series; Utah
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