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Murder, capital punishment, and television: execution publicity and homicide rates

American Sociological Review [October 1990]


Copyright (c) 1999

Abstract: The deterrent effect of criminal law is dependent upon communication to the public of the threat and application of sanctions. I test this argument for murder and capital punishment by examining monthly homicide rates and television publicity devoted to executions from 1976 to 1987. Despite the power of television as a source of news in the United States, the results of this study do not support either the deterrence argument, which contends that capital punishment reduces killings, or the brutalization argument, which contends that capital punishment promotes killings. Homicide rates were not found to be related to either the amount or type of execution publicity over the period.

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Publication Year:1999
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: American Sociological Review
Publication Info:Volume 55 Number 5
Issue:October 1990
Place of Publication:Albany
Notes:Used the Vanderbilt Television News Abstracts to measure the number of executions reported by the national news networks.
Subject: Vanderbilt Television News Archive -- Research Use
Record Number:10074
Last Update:2012-12-29 14:06:47
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00