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June 9, 2007

New DPIC report on doubts about the death penalty

The Death Penalty Information Center, as detailed here, has just released a new report entitled, "A Crisis of Confidence: American's Doubts About the Death Penalty."   The full report is available here, and this press release provides an overview:

Because of mistakes and a lack of efficacy, the death penalty is losing the confidence of the American public, according to a new poll by RT Strategies.... Almost 40% of the U.S. population believe they would be excluded as jurors in capital cases and a strong majority (58%) believe it is time for a moratorium on the death penalty while the process undergoes a careful review.  The poll was commissioned by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).

Almost all Americans (87%) believe that an innocent person has already been executed in recent years, and over half (55%) say that fact has affected their views on the death penalty.  An overwhelming 69% of the public believes that reforms will not eliminate all wrongful convictions and executions.

June 9, 2007 at 07:42 PM | Permalink

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The DPIC writes that "the death penalty is losing support". The relevant polls can be found here:

http://www.pollingreport.com/crime.htm

When I look at those polls, it sure looks like this is simply not the case. Support in some polls is down, and in others it is up.

As for their other statistics, each shows higher anti-death-penalty sentiment than is shown in the neutral polls above. One wonders if their questions were fairly written or not.

And, as usual, they ignore the most important question: do executions deter murder or not? The evidence that it does is strong (though not overwhelming). The most striking evidence in favour is this graph:

http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger2/2532/4048/1600/172844/Execution%20Rate.jpg

Posted by: William Jockusch | Jun 10, 2007 12:58:16 PM

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