DPIC In-Depth Reports

Reports: 16 — 20

Nov 01, 1994

Millions Misspent: What Politicians Don’t Say About the High Costs of the Death Penalty

Across the coun­try, police are being laid off, pris­on­ers are being released ear­ly, the courts are clogged, and crime con­tin­ues to rise. The eco­nom­ic reces­sion has caused cut­backs in the back­bone of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. In Florida, the bud­get cri­sis result­ed in the ear­ly release of 3,000 pris­on­ers. In Texas, pris­on­ers are serv­ing only 20% of their time and rear­rests are com­mon. Georgia is lay­ing off 900 cor­rec­tion­al per­son­nel and New Jersey has had to dis­miss 500 police offi­cers. Yet these same states, and many oth­ers like them, are…

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May 01, 1994

The Future of the Death Penalty in the U.S.: A Texas-Sized Crisis

Texas is the nation’s fore­most exe­cu­tion­er. It has been respon­si­ble for a third of the exe­cu­tions in the coun­try and has car­ried out two and a half times as many death sen­tences as the next lead­ing state. Death war­rants are being signed at an unman­age­able pace, yet the Texas death row is bulging with unprece­dent­ed num­bers of inmates. But this accel­er­at­ed form of jus­tice comes at a price. The rest of the coun­try should heed the warn­ing of the Texas expe­ri­ence before it embarks on a whole­sale expan­sion of the…

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Mar 01, 1994

Racial Disparities in Federal Death Penalty Prosecutions 1988 – 1994

Racial minori­ties are being pros­e­cut­ed under fed­er­al death penal­ty law far beyond their pro­por­tion in the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion or the pop­u­la­tion of crim­i­nal offend­ers. Analysis of pros­e­cu­tions under the fed­er­al death penal­ty pro­vi­sions of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 [2] reveals that 89% of the defen­dants select­ed for cap­i­tal pros­e­cu­tion have been either African-American or Mexican-American. Moreover, the num­ber of pros­e­cu­tions under this Act has been increas­ing over the past two years with no decline in the racial dis­par­i­ties. All ten of the recent­ly approved fed­er­al cap­i­tal pros­e­cu­tions have…

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Dec 31, 1993

Innocence and the Death Penalty: Assessing the Danger of Mistaken Executions

In 1972, when the Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia that the death penal­ty as then applied was arbi­trary and capri­cious and there­fore uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, a major­i­ty of the Justices expect­ed that the adop­tion of nar­row­ly craft­ed sen­tenc­ing pro­ce­dures would pro­tect against inno­cent per­sons being sen­tenced to death. Yet the promise of Furman has not been ful­filled: inno­cent per­sons are still being sen­tenced to death, and the chances are high that inno­cent per­sons have been or will be executed.

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Apr 01, 1993

Sentencing for Life: Americans Embrace Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Contrary to the con­ven­tion­al wis­dom that Americans whole­heart­ed­ly sup­port the death penal­ty, the lat­est nation­al opin­ion poll released in con­junc­tion with this report shows that more peo­ple in this coun­try would pre­fer alter­na­tive sen­tences that guar­an­tee both pro­tec­tion and pun­ish­ment over the death penal­ty. Death penal­ty sup­port becomes a minor­i­ty opin­ion when the pub­lic is pre­sent­ed with a vari­ety of alter­na­tive sen­tences. Most Americans, how­ev­er, are unaware that the length of impris­on­ment embod­ied in these alter­na­tives is now the norm almost every­where in the country.

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