Perspectives on Crime and Punishment

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Supporters for Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis in Jackson, Ga. Davis was executed last month (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Hour 1

The recent execution of Troy Davis in Georgia has reignited a public debate over the death penalty in the United States.  Davis, who was convicted of killing an off-duty police officer in 1989, had always maintained his innocence and had hundreds of thousands of supporters. But despite appeals to overturn the sentence, he was put to death by lethal injection last month.  Now a new Gallup Poll has found that one-third of Americans oppose the death penalty – the highest level in forty years. This hour we get different perspectives on the death penalty and our criminal justice system.  First, we talk with New York University sociologist and law professor DAVID GARLAND about the political and cultural institutions in the United States that support capital punishment.  Garland is the author of Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition. Then, former Georgia Commissioner of Corrections ALLEN AULT talks about the psychological toll that the death penalty takes on those who work in the prison system.  And finally, former Pennsylvania district attorney MATTHEW MANGINO discusses the high rate of unsolved homicides in the United States which leaves over 6000 killers unpunished each year.

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[audio: 102011_100630.mp3]

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