Murder, capital punishment, and television: execution publicity and homicide rates
American Sociological Review
Bailey, William C
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.