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Are Minorities Overrepresented on Death Row?

Resources: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cp.htm
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pubalp2.htm#cp.
http://www.justicepolicy.com/dp/
http://websolutions.learfield.com/deathrow/
http://www.usdol.gov/opa/pr/2003/June/racial profiling fact sheet.pdf

In your opinion, are minorities overrepresented on death row? Explain your rationale. Cite arguments and statistics found in the reading that support your opinion.

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Hi,

Interesting question!

RESPONSE:

1. In your opinion, are minorities over-represented on death row? Explain your rationale. Cite arguments and statistics found in the reading that support your opinion.

You are sure given an excellent list of resources to draw on for this question. If you have not checked out the site yet, that is the place to begin. For example, graphs of data by race are often helpful to depict if there are a greater number of minorities (black, Latino, etc.) on death row that other groups referred to as majority (often whites) Other research investigates the racial profile of death role offenders (see inmates by race at URL: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=5&did=184#inmaterace), WHICH SHOWS US WHETHER OR NOT ONE GROUP IS OVER-REPRESENTED IN COMPARISON TO OTHER GROUPS.

Resources to consider:

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cp.htm
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pubalp2.htm#cp
http://www.justicepolicy.com/dp/
http://websolutions.learfield.com/deathrow/
http://www.usdol.gov/opa/pr/2003/June/racial profiling fact sheet.pdf

Abolitionists argue that there is bias against minorities, so they are advocates of abolishing the death penalty. However, see the excerpt at the end of this response, which found that there was no bias in the system, even though 90% of death row was indeed minorities. Interesting!!! However, some statistics suggest otherwise (see below).

The data suggests over-representation of Black Americans, and minorities when consider together. For example the race of the defendant executed since 1976 in United States are: 374 Black (34%), 76 Hispanic (7%), 625 White (57%) and 24 Other (2%). Although 57% were white, when one considers the total percentage of white versus other races in the overall population, the minority groups are still over-represented according to this data (see http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=5&did=184#inmaterace). NOTE: The federal government counts some categories, such as Hispanics, as an ethnic group rather than a race. DPIC refers to all groups as races because the sources for much of our information use these categories.

Similarly, another source reports that since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, white inmates have made up more than half of the number under sentence of death. For example, of persons under sentence of death in 2006:
-- 1,802 were white
-- 1,352 were black
-- 28 were American Indian
-- 35 were Asian
-- 11 were of unknown race (see graphs at ...

Solution Summary

Regarding the ongoing debate, this solution looks at some of the arguments and statistics addressing whether or not minorities are overrepresented on death row.

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