Friday, July 01, 2011

Research Brief: Impact of information on support for the death penalty: Empirical study

Lambert, E. G., Camp, S. D., Clarke, A., & Jiang, S. H. (2011). The Impact of Information on Death Penalty Support, Revisited. Crime & Delinquency, 57(4), 572-599.

In 1972, former Supreme Court Justice Marshall postulated that the public was uninformed about the death penalty and information would change their support for it. There is some indication that information about the death penalty may change people’s level of support. This study re-examines data used by Lambert and Clarke (2001). Using multivariate analyses, the impact that information has on death penalty support is tested, along with level of prior knowledge about the death penalty, personal characteristics (gender, age, political affiliation, race, being a criminal justice major, academic level), and religious factors. The results suggest that information on both deterrence and innocence leads to a reduction in death penalty support and views on the death penalty. Furthermore, the results suggest that the information presented may have varying effects among different subgroups of people.

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