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Nothing to be reformed: Punitive citizenship and social bias in death penalty trials.


The system is rigged. There is no way a jury can participate in sentencing without reifying the state's extreme punitivity. A lot of people are talking about whether some of the solutions to the criminal justice system is to reinvigorate juries. I'm quite cautious about that, because I think juries, in this system as it stands, are not going to fix what is fundamentally and extraordinary, illogical punitive system.

Sociologist Sarah Beth Kaufman examines the mechanisms of injustice built into American death penalty trials - from the racial and class barriers to adequate legal representation, to the ways those barriers extend into the performances of grief, guilt and danger - and explains why capital punishment will never deliver justice to victims, or society at large.

Sarah Beth is author of American Roulette: The Social Logic of Death Penalty Sentencing Trials from University of California Press.

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Sarah Beth Kaufman

Sarah Beth Kaufman is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas.


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