The Death Penalty: Effectiveness in Deterrence of Crime and Prosecutorial Racism


This thesis explores the death penalty, specifically investigating its effectiveness towards deterring crime and racial disparities from prosecutors in the United States. State statistics, prior research, and prosecutorial handling of prior cases were examined for overall effectiveness in the country. Through the researching of homicide death rates in the country where the death penalty is used, it was found that the death penalty did not act as a deterrence towards crime. Past scholarly work has also certified the claim that the death penalty does not deter crime. In regard to prosecutorial racism, prior research of conduction of death penalty cases revealed that minority defendants are more likely to receive death penalty convictions. Further on, prior research reveals that minority defendants with white victims are more likely to receive death penalty convictions as well. Additionally, historical cases were examined to highlight specific instances where racial discrimination by the prosecution was an issue in death penalty cases. This thesis aims to provide scholarly and statistical evidence to prove the claims made above regarding deterrence in crime and prosecutorial racism.



Capital punishment, Criminal justice, Prosecution