The Dark at the Top of the Stairs: Four Destructive Influences of Capital Punishment on American Criminal Justice
16 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2011
Date Written: November 8, 2011
State execution is not a major part of America's system of criminal punishment, but it casts a long shadow over the principles and practices of the rest of criminal justice. This essay discusses four negative impacts of the death penalty on the larger system: (1) The hyper-extension of the substantive criminal law; (2) The symbolic transformation of harsh punishment to a private reward; (3) The creation and overuse of Life Without Possibility of Parole (LWOP) sentences; and (4) The diversion of legal and judicial resources from other pressing problems in the criminal system.
Keywords: Capital Punishment, Imprisonment
JEL Classification: K14, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation