Public Knowledge of Executions: Results of a National Survey

Joseph E. Jacoby, The Bowling Green State University
Eric F. Bronson, West Texas A&M University
Jennifer Pealer, University of Cincinnati

The large number of executions for criminal offenses imposed in recent years could only deter prospective offenders if they knew of the executions. This paper reports the results of a national mail survey of the American public that assessed knowledge about the frequency and recency of executions nationally and by respondents' state of residence. The results of this survey reveal that the public underestimates the actual frequency of executions. The implications for a policy of deterrence through executions are presented.

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Updated 05/20/2006