The Topography of Capital Punishment

Geographic Variations in Seeking, Achieving, and Carrying Out the Death Penalty

Authored by: Adam Trahan , Kaleigh B. Laird , Douglas N. Evans

Routledge Handbook on Capital Punishment

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138651579
eBook ISBN: 9781315624723
Adobe ISBN:


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It is tempting to think about the death penalty in broad generalizations. Perhaps the most common generalization we encounter is that America is a “death penalty country.” Much is made about the fact that the United States is one of the last remaining developed nations to execute its citizens. It’s a true statement, of course. In terms of confirmed executions in any given year, we typically find ourselves around fifth in the world after countries such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan (Amnesty International, 2015). However, characterizing the United States as a “death penalty country” is a generalization that, when explored more closely, starts to lose some accuracy.

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