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date: 03 December 2022

Capital Punishmentlocked

Capital Punishmentlocked

  • Sondra J. Fogel, Sondra J. FogelDr. Sondra J. Fogel is an associate professor of social work and currently serving as Director of Special Programs for the USF Honors College. Her research areas include poverty, homelessness, capital punishment, and macro practice education.
  • M. Dwayne SmithM. Dwayne SmithSenior Vice Provost, University of South Florida
  •  and Beth BjerregaardBeth BjerregaardProfessor & Chair, Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology; Professor of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Capital punishment, the administration of death as a legal sanction, is a criminal-justice response to a restricted class of criminal activities that involve the killing of another human being. As a legal process, capital punishment has been modified by several landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Yet, it remains a controversial penalty with factors of race, gender, socio-economic status, mental health status of the defendant, and other extra-legal factors often attributed to the sentencing decision. Social workers are increasingly used as mitigation experts or in similar types of roles for the defense team. As a profession, social work opposes the use of capital punishment. The purpose of this entry is to provide an overview of the death penalty as it is currently practiced in the United States and to review current issues and controversies surrounding its administration.


  • Criminal Justice
  • Policy and Advocacy
  • Social Justice and Human Rights

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