To Reinstate or to Not Reinstate? An Exploratory Study of Student Perspectives on the Death Penalty in Michigan

Mensah Adinkrah, William M. Clemens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The U.S. state of Michigan abolished the death penalty in 1846. Since then, several abortive efforts have been made by state legislators to re-establish the death sentence to deal with convicted murderers. Concurrently, some support exists among Michigan residents for the restoration of capital punishment in the state. This article presents the results of the analysis of an attitudinal survey of 116 college students enrolled in three criminal justice courses in a Michigan public university concerning the reinstatement of the death sentence in the state. The data from this exploratory study show that a slight majority (52.6%) of respondents favored reinstatement whereas 45.7% opposed restoration. Advocates and opponents of re-establishment of the death penalty in Michigan provided similar religious, moral and economic arguments proffered by others in previous surveys on capital punishment available in the death penalty literature. The current study makes a contribution to the scant extant literature on attitudes toward the death penalty in abolitionist jurisdictions. As this body of literature grows, it can provide baseline data or information with which to compare attitudes in retentionist states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-252
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Michigan
  • capital punishment
  • death penalty
  • reinstatement
  • university students

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