Capital punishment: a review and critique of abolition strategies

Hodgkinson, P., Kandelia, S. and Gyllensten, L. 2008. Capital punishment: a review and critique of abolition strategies. in: Yorke, J. (ed.) Against the death penalty: international initiatives and implications Ashgate. pp. 249-275

Chapter titleCapital punishment: a review and critique of abolition strategies
AuthorsHodgkinson, P., Kandelia, S. and Gyllensten, L.
EditorsYorke, J.
Abstract

The objective of this chapter is to review and critique the various strategies adopted in pursuit of the abolition of capital punishment and to proffer a model that is both evidence based and holistic in preparing for abolition and its aftermath requiring. In our opinion it is essential to such an approach that attention and resources are dedicated to improving legal services, prison and police practices, crime victims’ services, humane and proportionate alternatives to the death sentence, the public and elites’ knowledge about the death penalty and finally promoting a political philosophy that avoids reinforcing the myths of the benefits of capital punishment. The replacement of capital punishment and all its trappings should be addressed as a penal policy issue informed by reference to the wealth of available evidence. Paradoxically, abolition of the death penalty itself rarely leads to the improvements to the administration of justice that such a radical step would indicate and which abolitionists believe will follow the demise of the death penalty. Reliance by many abolitionists on the moral high ground can be counter-productive though that is not to deny that there is a moral and an emotional dimension. In this brief overview, we will address some of the most frequently cited justifications for the death penalty such as deterrence, retribution and incapacitation, as well as looking at the concept of abolitionism itself. Issues relating to the law, victims, public opinion, moratoria and alternatives to the death sentence will also be explored.

KeywordsDeath Penalty, Capital Punishment, Abolition, Justifications, victims, public opinion, life imprisonment, moratorium
Book titleAgainst the death penalty: international initiatives and implications
Page range249-275
Year2008
PublisherAshgate
Publication dates
Published2008
ISBN9780754674139

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