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Articles on Capital punishment

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Courts have failed to understand the role childhood trauma can play in adult criminal behaviour. (Shutterstock)

Criminal justice needs a better understanding of childhood trauma

The execution of Lisa Montgomery in the U.S. earlier this year demonstrates how society misunderstands the effects of mental illness and trauma on criminal behaviour.
Four of the 10 federal prisoners executed this year: Wesley Purkey, killed July 16; Dustin Honken, killed July 17; Brandon Bernard, killed Dec. 10; and Alfred Bourgeois, killed Dec. 11. In some cases, survivors of their victims addressed the court. AP Photo

When families of murder victims speak at death penalty trials, their anguish may make sentencing less fair

Victim impact statements give survivors a voice in the criminal justice process. But research shows their wrenching personal testimonies may not bring closure and can add racial bias into sentencing.
George Stinney, a 14-year old wrongfully executed for murder in 1944. M. Watt Espy Papers, University at Albany

The death penalty, an American tradition on the decline

The National Death Penalty Archive collects documents and paraphernalia behind the thousands of executions that have taken place on American soil.
Indonesian activists hold candles during a candlelight protest against death penalty executions, outside the presidential palace in Jakarta in 2016. Mast Irham/EPA

Busting the myths of the death penalty

Research shows the deterrent effect of capital punishment is a myth.
Pope Francis said the death penalty, can never be sanctioned because it ‘attacks’ the inherent dignity of all humans. AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file

Can you be Christian and support the death penalty?

Pope Francis has said that death penalty violates the dignity of a person. But, this might just deepen the debate among Christians, who for a long time have been divided over the issue.
The newly completed execution chamber at Ely State Prison in Ely, Nevada. Nevada Department of Corrections via AP

Why Nevada’s new lethal injection is unethical

Nevada plans to use a new drug protocol for executing Scott Dozier, who murdered a 22-year-old. A scholar explains why this is problematic.
Kurt Morrow

Is the death penalty un-Christian?

In the Western world, the U.S. is one of only one of two countries with capital punishment, and support remains strongest in the ‘Bible Belt’. Here’s a look at the historic arguments within Christian communities over the death penalty.

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