Deterrence and the Death Penalty Llad Phillips
Outline • The Death Penalty • Arguments • Philosophical and moral (lexicographic ordering) • Practical: Is it a deterrent? • Impact on the criminal justice system: Detention (prison building era) dominates • Operation of the Death Penalty • Homicide and Executions
IV. Lecture Four: “Deterrence and the Death Penalty”, Professor Phillips Ch. 10 (P&V) "Isolating Deterrence Using the Simultaneous Equation System" References: Gary Becker, "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach" Journal of Political Economy, March/April 1968 (RBR)
What purpose did the execution serve? • Deterrence? Other Saddams? (The Hague) • Detention? No • Rehabilitation? No • Retribution?
1976 Supreme Court Reinstates Death Penalty
Economic Conditions and Crime • California Crime Index Levels Off in the New Millenium
Damages: US Violence, 1993 Source: National Institute of Justice, Victim Costs and Consequences (1996)
Increase in CA Homicides • 2002 to 2003: at least 10 more homicides • @$1,191,000, increased damages of $11.9 million, minimum • 2003: 2402 homicides, 6.7/100,000 • @$1,191,000, total damages of $ 2.86 billion • 2004: 2392 homicides, 6.5/100,000 • 2005: 2503 homicides, 6.8/100,000 http://caag.state.ca.us/
Schematic of the Criminal Justice System Causes ? Weak Link Offense Rate Per Capita Crime Generation Expected Cost of Punishment (detention, deterrence) Expenditures Crime Control
Questions About Crime • Does the Expected Severity of Punishment Deter Crime? • expected severity = probability of punishment * severity of punishment • e.g. in LA County: 0.005*death penalty • Why Do We Keep Building Prisons at Great Expense to Warehouse Convicts? • Doesn’t deterrence work? • Do we have to rely on detention?
Controversy About the Death Penalty • Death penalty is the most severe sentence. • Does it deter crime? • Opponents of the death penalty say no. • Their evidence? Critiques of studies that indicate the death penalty is a deterrent. • Why are so few murderers who receive the death sentence executed in California? • Death sentence appeases the proponents. • Few executions appeases the opponents.
France was the last Western European Country to abandon the death Penalty in 1977
Executions in the US 1930-2007 http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs Peak to Peak: About 65 years
Bureau of Justice Statistics Peak to Peak: 50 years
Nikolai Kondratieff (1892-1938) Brought to attention in Joseph Schumpeter’s Business Cycles (1939)
2008-2014: Hard Winter
Policy Impact of Opponents to the Death Penalty • As an instrument for crime control, deterrence has been a casualty of the argument about the death penalty. • The argument: if the death penalty does not deter murderers, then deterrence must not work as a control. • As a consequence, society relies more and more on detention for crime control. • Society builds more and more prisons.
Homicide in Los Angeles County • 1990-1994: 9442 homicides • Increasing number of gang murders • > 40 % of the total • Only 1 in 3 murders leads to punishment • gang killings are harder to solve
Branching Diagram unsolved 46% other 9442 homicides in LA County 13% 54% dismissed or not guilty solved 87% 32% arrest and prosecution (47%) 68% guilty (32%)
Branching Diagram, Continued dismissed or not guilty Manslaughter 15 years to life (7.0%) 50% Guilty (32%) 25 years to life (5.0%) 50% 1st & 2nd degree murder (16%) life without parole (3.5%) 3.1% death sentence ( 0.5%)
Stable Down Up
Who has benefited the most from the decline in the homicide rate in the nineties?
Who is the victim, family, friend or stranger? http://caag.state.ca.us/ Homicide in California, 1998