Confidence in the death penalty and support for its use: Exploring the value-expressive dimension of death penalty attitudes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Abstract

Recent media and political attention has raised public awareness of a number of issues surrounding the death penalty. Questions regarding innocence, fair trials, and equitable access to counsel and the appellate process are ubiquitous in coverage of the death penalty. Adequate information about public attitudes toward the death penalty in light of these issues is currently lacking. In 2002, as part of the annual Texas Crime Poll, questions were asked about confidence in the administration of the death penalty, support for the death penalty, and support for a moratorium. The results indicate that, although a majority of respondents support the death penalty, a substantial proportion lack confidence in its use and support a moratorium on executions. Of those lacking confidence and those supporting a moratorium, strong majorities maintain support for the death penalty (68% and 73%, respectively). These findings suggest that death penalty attitudes may be largely value expressive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-546
Number of pages26
JournalJustice Quarterly
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004

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