This class will explore capital punishment in the United States from a philosophical, ethical, sociological, and legal perspective. Topics will include the purpose of the death penalty (deterrence and retribution), the history and structure of the death penalty system, the costs and efficacy of the death penalty, rehabilitation, the impact of exculpatory DNA evidence, current trends in the states and various issues confronted by the Supreme Court under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
GROUP LEADER: John S. Ross, III. Jack earned degrees from Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law and served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington & Lee University. He has taught several courses on legal topics in the WISE program.
BOOK: (optional) Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment, by Hugo Bedau and Paul Cassell (Oxford Univ. Press 2004, ISBN 978-0-19-517980-4)
Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE)
Assumption College, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609