The Paradox of Race and America’s Experiment with Capital Punishment: Are We Probing Deeply Enough?

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death penalty, race, review essay


Too often Americans speak primarily to themselves when the topic turns to the death penalty. Because the United States is the last of the industrialized Western countries to retain the death penalty, we often think of it as a purely American phenomenon. But it does impact the international community in significant ways, especially given the reality that many of the nation's trading partners and closest allies refuse to extradite criminal suspects who may face the death penalty in the United States. Indeed, the political, economic, and moral ramifications of America's experiment with death will continue to have profound consequences on that country's position in the international community. What is more, those consequences become even more serious—even more heightened—when one factors in the controversial issue of race. It is, therefore, incumbent on scholars and commentators from the United States and around the world to broaden the conversation about race and capital punishment, to become more cognizant of how race impacts America's death row. The inclusion of this article in the International Criminal Justice Review is meant to contribute to that effort.

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International Criminal Justice Review