The Road to Abolition?The Future of Capital Punishment in the United States

The Road to Abolition?The Future of Capital Punishment in the United States

Charles J. Jr. Ogletree and Austin Sarat

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780814762172

Publisher: NYU Press


At the start of the twenty-first century, America is in the midst of a profound national reconsideration of the death penalty. There has been a dramatic decline in the number of people being sentenced to death as well as executed, exonerations have become common, and the number of states abolishing the death penalty is on the rise. This book tracks this shift in attitudes toward capital punishment, and considers whether or not the death penalty will ever be abolished in the United States. The book attempts to answer the hard questions that need to be addressed if the death penalty is to be abolished. Will the death penalty end only to be replaced with life without parole? Will life without the possibility of parole become, in essence, the new death penalty? For abolitionists, might that be a pyrrhic victory? The book discusses how the death penalty might be abolished, with particular emphasis on the current debate over lethal injection as a case study on why and how the elimination of certain forms of execution might provide a model for the larger abolition of death penalty.

Table of Contents


Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., and Austin Sarat

Part I Assessing the Prospects for Abolition

2 Blinded by Science on the Road to Abolition?

Simon A. Cole and Jay D. Aronson

4 The Beginning of the End?

Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker

5 Rocked but Still Rolling

Michael McCann and David T. Johnson

Part II Debating Lethal Injection

7 Perfect Execution

Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn

Part III Putting the Death Penalty in Context

10 Making Difference

Peter Fitzpatrick