Death penalty in USA

Christine Holmgreen Mejling, Catrine Johansen, Cathrine Munch & Louise Holstein Qvortrup

Student thesis: Basic Project


This assignment is about the death penalty in the USA. The death penalty is still a current topic because many countries still uses it. USA is the only western country that still uses the death penalty. You can, with advantage, look at the arguments in the debate to examine the different point of views on the death penalty. This project will take its starting point in Jesper Ryberg’s theory about sense of justice and theories of penology. This is to get a broader perspective about the different views on death penalty. The project is a case study where we investigate different views on the topic. We have chosen three articles and one report that represents different sides of the debate. We have chosen an article written by the former jurist P. Holloway, a report developed by ACLU, a non-profit organisation, an interview by F. Romano, who have lost his sister, and last an article written by J. Budziszewski, professor.
The arguments in the articles and report will be analysed. We found that it was necessary to use qualitative methods through document analysis, case study and literary search. In our analysis we found that the article, written by Holloway, focuses on the theory by Ryberg about the sense of justice and the absolute theory of penology among these the theory of justice and the American revenge theory. In the report from ACLU we found that, especially the theory of utilitarianism by Ryberg among with the relative theory of penology with particular reference to the social effects in society, was expressed.
Furthermore we found through the analysis of the interview with Romano the absolute theories of penology about the American revenge theories was expressed. Finally we found that, especially the theological theories were expressed in the Budziszewski article.
In our discussion we have looked at the differences between the arguments and found that they all had different sense of justice. In addition this could be caused by their different motives for either the abrogation or the retention of the death penalty. Our result was relatively generalizable, due to the fact that we used different point of views on our topic.

EducationsBasic - Bachelor Study Program in Social Science, (Bachelor Programme) Bachelor
Publication date25 May 2016
Number of pages58
SupervisorsJon Kvist