Week 1 – Discussion
Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.
Race and the Death Penalty
This discussion focuses on topics addressed in several chapters of your text – the death penalty and discrimination in the United States. Although first discussed in Chapter 2, the death penalty is also discussed in Chapter 4. Please complete your assigned readings and watch the following video, Black Death and Dixie: Racism and the Death Penalty in the United States (Links to an external site.). Please cite in APA style your textbook as a resource along with two additional credible, scholarly resources. After reading the text, your scholarly sources, and watching the video, please discuss thoroughly the following questions.
- African Americans comprise approximately 13% of the population of the United States yet nearly half (50%) of the incarcerated population is African American. Based on research, what factors best explain high incarceration rates for African Americans compared to their percent of the general population?
- Based on research, which factors may best explain the high number of African Americans (approximately 42%) on death row in the United States?
- Define institutionalized racism and then discuss whether institutionalized racism is to blame. Please be sure to explain thoroughly and cite credible sources to support your assertions.
- Judges in some jurisdictions are elected. Based on your research, is it possible that judges have implicit racial biases that influence their decision making in cases? Please explain and cite credible sources that support your assertions.
- If a jury who has heard the case recommends a life sentence instead of a death sentence, should a judge be allowed to override the jury’s recommendation in favor of the death penalty? Why or why not?
- How can the problem of disproportionate incarcerations rates based on race be resolved?
Your initial post should be at least 350 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required material(s) and at least one other scholarly resource. Please properly cite in the body of your work and at the end of your work your minimum of two required references. Please read several of your classmates’ initial posts and respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by Day 7. Your peer responses should focus on the course concepts and be scholarly in nature. Be sure to support any opinions you have with credible, scientific evidence.