Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blog 3 (The Peculiar Institution)

Something that I took away from this book was the racial nature of the death penalty. I really have never thought much about the death penalty, not to the point of having any kind of well reasoned rationale on whether or not to keep it around or not anyway, but when I heard that there was a greater occurrence of blacks facing the death penalty I began to consider what that actually meant as far as the institution of the death penalty was concerned.

Do death sentences somehow favor blacks or are there just more blacks accused of crimes that are punishable by the death penalty? What does the typical appeals process go for someone who is black and on death row? What is the rate of successful appeals by blacks compared to other races accused of similar on death row? Basically I'm wondering if the system is broken or the current climate of the country has just lead to this disparity. In either case, I'd love to see an effort made to correct this situation and hopefully in the process decrease the number of blacks who end up on death row.
 Hopefully this might even reduce the number of people on death row overall.

There are potentially deep social issues that are responsible for much of why the current situation is the way that it is today. As a teacher, I'd love to try my best to motivate students from all backgrounds to make good decisions and hopefully avoid running into the law. Maybe if the students could see the connections between what they do with their life choices and the death penalty they can form an opinion about how and why it continues to be implemented to this day and what should be done about it in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Very insightful, Jason. It seems there is overwhelming evidence that killers of white victims get the death penalty much more frequently than killers of black victims. I think poverty and lack of resources for the public defender system both play a role. Low SES blacks accused of crimes may end up with a public defender who is competent but grossly overworked, or one who is just plain incompetent and doesn't do the most basic investigation for exculpatory evidence. Very depressing.