JUST REVENGE - Costs and Consequences of the Death Penalty

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Features of Just Revenge

Research-Based:  Just Revenge summarizes what decades of research reveal about the usefulness of killing murderers.  Costanzo looks at the accumulated data from hundreds of research studies to determine if executions deter, if the death penalty costs more than life imprisonment, if the public supports executions, and if the penalty is applied without bias or mistake.  Just Revenge also examines arguments beyond the reach of empirical data -- for example, those based on moral and philosophical claims. 

Comprehensive:  Every important issue surrounding capital punishment is examined.  The author ably summarizes evidence about the usefulness of capital punishment and places the practice of killing murderers in historical, political, and moral context.

Organization of the Book:  Each chapter of this unique book answers a question that naturally arises in the minds of most Americans: Is the death penalty cheaper than life imprisonment?  Do executions deter potential murderers?  Is the death penalty fairly applied?  Does the public support the death penalty?  Is the death penalty inhumane?  Is killing murderers morally justified?  In addition, an opening chapter chronicles the long, bloody history of executions and changes in how, when, and why we kill criminals.  The closing chapter evaluates the politics and future of capital punishment, as well as alternatives to executing murderers.

Writing Style:  Just Revenge is a clear, accessible examination of capital punishment. Although the emphasis is on social scientific research, this provocative book uses diverse sources of information -- including closing arguments from capital murder trials; interviews with jurors; statistical analyses of murder rates; economic and demographic data; case studies of murders and trials; national survey data; and quotes from defendants, politicians, and the families of victims--to understand the costs, benefits, and consequences of the death penalty.