Racial and Gender Threat and the Death Penalty: A County-Level Examination of Sociopolitical Factors Influencing Death Sentences

Margaret Schmuhl, Colleen E. Mills, Jason Silva, Joel Capellan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The death penalty is a local phenomenon with 15% of U.S. counties responsible for passing death sentences since 1976. Although state-level research has contributed a greater understanding of abolition and state-level factors surrounding the death penalty, it remains crucially important to understand the sociopolitical context of counties as key decision-makers in death penalty cases. Findings from our study suggest that both racial and gender threats are important predictors of death sentences within these communities. Specifically, counties with Black populations greater than the state median experience increases in all death sentences, while gender equality in education produces an ameliorative effect on death sentencing. The persistence of extralegal factors, especially racial bias, influencing death sentencing suggests that these relationships be carefully considered in the research and administration of capital sentencing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-183
Number of pages23
JournalCriminal Justice Policy Review
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Racial and Gender Threat and the Death Penalty: A County-Level Examination of Sociopolitical Factors Influencing Death Sentences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this