Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1956686
 


 



The Dark at the Top of the Stairs: Four Destructive Influences of Capital Punishment on American Criminal Justice


Franklin E. Zimring


University of California, Berkeley

David T. Johnson


University of Hawaii at Manoa

November 8, 2011


Abstract:     
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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: Capital Punishment, Imprisonment

JEL Classification: K14, K40

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Date posted: November 10, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Zimring, Franklin E. and Johnson, David T., The Dark at the Top of the Stairs: Four Destructive Influences of Capital Punishment on American Criminal Justice (November 8, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1956686 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1956686

Contact Information

Franklin E. Zimring (Contact Author)
University of California, Berkeley ( email )
383 Boalt Hall
School of Law
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-0854 (Phone)
510-643-2698 (Fax)
David T. Johnson
University of Hawaii at Manoa ( email )
Honolulu, HI 96822
United States
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