Why does the us still have dp
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Why does the US still have DP? PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Why does the US still have DP?. Existing theories… Socio-cultural values? Vigilante tradition No history of rigid class distinction in punishment No obvious sense of outer limits/no history of exceptions for status Limited welfare state Liberalism/individualism? Racism?.

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Why does the US still have DP?

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Why does the us still have dp

Why does the US still have DP?

Existing theories…

  • Socio-cultural values?

    • Vigilante tradition

    • No history of rigid class distinction in punishment

      • No obvious sense of outer limits/no history of exceptions for status

    • Limited welfare state

  • Liberalism/individualism?

  • Racism?


Garland dp in the us

Garland – DP in the US:

  • US on abolition trajectory for much of 19th and 20th centuries

  • 1976 – Furman v. GA struck down state death penalty statutes as violations of due process (not violations of cruel and unusual punishment)

  • US public no more supportive of DP than other countries; form of executions much like other countries pre-abolition

  • What needs explaining is last 30 years

    • Political institutions: institutional structures disrupt reform and resistance to DP


U s institutional exceptionalism high fragmentation and many veto points

U.S. institutional exceptionalism: high fragmentation and many veto points

  • Lack of clear mechanism for major social policy

    • Congress has enumerated powers that are often contested

  • Many veto points for powerful elites and ideological extremists

    • South, other regions (lower mid-west)

    • Federalism – multiple, simultaneous, overlapping

    • Senate

    • Supreme Court


Why does the us still have dp

  • Political structures/mechanisms for nation-wide abolition of DP do not exist in US (outside Supreme Court)

    • Absence of strong parties

    • Existence of populist political mechanisms (referenda)

    • Election of judges and prosecutors

  • Vigilante values as a function of limited capacity for state to control violence? (Roth?)


What about race

What about race…?

  • Where is race in Garland’s account of the persistence of the death penalty?

  • Garland privileges institutions but Unever and Cullen seem to suggest race is central to understanding DP in US. Why?


Institutional features and their effects

Institutional features and their effects:

  • Parliamentary v. presidential

    • Presidential systems (separation of powers) may stalemate.

    • Parliamentary systems avoid stalemate (more effective)

  • Two-party v. multi-party (SMD v. PR)

    • PR/multi-party promotes broad representation, consensus

    • SMD/two-party promotes one-party rule, majoritarianism

  • Judicial v. parliamentary supremacy

    • Judicial supremacy can (maybe) mitigate ‘heat of the moment’ decision-making by legislative bodies

    • Parliamentary supremacy ensures that political ‘losers’ don’t use courts to overturn decisions that benefit the majority


How institutional rules matter arrow s impossibility theorem paradox

How institutional rules matter: Arrow’s impossibility theorem (paradox)

3 candidates, A B and C. Voter preferences are as follows:

A > B B > C C > A

Merkel>CameronCameron>HollandeHollande>Merkel

First round: A v. B = A (Merkel)

Second round: A v. C = C is winner (Hollande)

First round: B v. C = B (Cameron)

Second round: B v. A = A is winner (Merkel)


Why does the us still have dp

  • Do institutional designs matter for rates of crime and punishment?

  • How might institutional structures (party systems, parliamentary/presidential, federalism and so on) affect rates of imprisonment in a country?

  • Which arrangements are more ‘democratic?’


Voter turnout of registered voters

Voter turnout – % of registered voters


Why does the us still have dp

  • Liberal market economies: US and UK

  • Corporatist, conservative market economies: Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium

  • Social democracies: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland


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