ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF THE ULTIMATE PENAL SANCTION ON HOMICIDE SURVIVORS: A TWO STATE COMPARISON
Numerous studies have examinedthe psychological sequelae thatresult from the murder of a loved one. Except for the death penalty,however, sparse attention has been paidto the impact of the murderer’ssentence on homicide survivors’ well-being. Given the steadfastness ofthe public’s opinion that the death penalty brings satisfaction and closureto survivors, it is surprising thatthere has been no systematic inquirydirectly with survivors about whether obtaining the ultimate punishmentaffects their healing. This Study used in-person interviews with arandomly selected sample of survivorsfrom four time periods to examinethe totality of the ultimate penal sanction (UPS) process and itslongitudinal impact on their lives. Moreover, it assessed the differentialeffect of two types of UPS by comparing survivors’ experiences in Texas,a death penalty state, and Minnesota, a life without the possibility ofparole (LWOP) state. Comparing states highlights differences primarilyduring the postconviction stage, specifically with respect to the appealsprocess and in regard to survivor well-being. In Minnesota, survivors ofadjudicated cases show higher levels of physical, psychological, andbehavioral health. This Study’s findings have implications for trialstrategy and policy development.
- Document type Academic report
- Themes list Murder Victims' Families,