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Full-Text Articles in Law

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh Oct 2019

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh

Christopher Salvatore

Virtual life sentences are sentences with a term of years that exceed an individual’s natural life expectancy. This exploratory study is one of the first to collect data that establish the existence, prevalence, and scope of virtual life sentences in state prisons in the United States. Initial data reveal that more than 31,000 people in 26 states are serving virtual life sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses, and suggest racial disparities in the distribution of these sentences. This study also presents potential policy implications and suggestions for future research.


The Long Wait For An Improbable Death: A Look At Delays In Executions In Kansas And Possible Reforms To Capital Punishment, Amy M. Memmer, Melanie K. Worsley, Brenda I. Rowe Jan 2019

The Long Wait For An Improbable Death: A Look At Delays In Executions In Kansas And Possible Reforms To Capital Punishment, Amy M. Memmer, Melanie K. Worsley, Brenda I. Rowe

Criminology and Criminal Justice Faculty Publications

This article uses Kansas as a case study to show how in Kansas, as in many other states in the United States, the execution of a death sentence is so improbable, and the delays that precede it so extraordinary, that any arguable deterrent or retributive effect capital punishment might once have had has been severely diminished. This article considers possible reforms to the capital punishment system aimed at reducing the delay between sentencing and execution, and the risks that would accompany those reforms. This article also considers whether capital punishment should still be considered a viable option for states in …


Capital And Punishment: Resource Scarcity Increases Endorsement Of The Death Penalty, Keelah E. G. Williams, Ashley M. Votruba, Steven L. Neuberg, Michael J. Saks Jan 2019

Capital And Punishment: Resource Scarcity Increases Endorsement Of The Death Penalty, Keelah E. G. Williams, Ashley M. Votruba, Steven L. Neuberg, Michael J. Saks

Department of Psychology: Faculty Publications

Faced with punishing severe offenders, why do some prefer imprisonment whereas others impose death? Previous research exploring death penalty attitudes has primarily focused on individual and cultural factors. Adopting a functional perspective, we propose that environmental features may also shape our punishment strategies. Individuals are attuned to the availability of resources within their environments. Due to heightened concerns with the costliness of repeated offending, we hypothesize that individuals tend toward elimination-focused punishments during times of perceived scarcity. Using global and United States data sets (studies 1 and 2), we find that indicators of resource scarcity predict the presence of capital …