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Deterrence, Brutalization, and the Death Penalty: Another Examination of Oklahoma's Return to Capital Punishment
  • William C. Bailey, Cleveland State University
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A replication and extension of a weekly ARIMA analysis (1989–1991) by Cochran et al. (1994), which appeared in Criminology, confirms that Oklahoma's return to capital punishment in 1990, after a 25-year moratorium, was followed by a significant increase in killings involving strangers. Moreover, a multivariate autoregressive analysis, which includes measures of the frequency of executions, the level of print media attention devoted to executions, and selected sociodemographic variables, produced results consistent with the brutalization hypothesis for total homicides, as well as a variety of different types of killing involving both strangers and nonstrangers. No prior study has shown such strong support for the capital punishment and brutalization argument. However, there is also a suggestion of a possible lagged deterrent effect for the level of media coverage of executions for nonfelony murders involving strangers. The analysis indicates that the impact of capital punishment in Oklahoma during the 1989–1991 period was much more extensive than suggested by the earlier study. Recommendations are made for further research examining additional jurisdictions and time periods to determine the generalizability of the patterns found for Oklahoma.
Citation Information
Bailey, W. C. (1998). Deterrence, brutalization, and the death penalty: Another examination of Oklahoma's return to capital punishment. Criminology, 36(4), 711-734. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9125.1998.tb01263.x