Last updated on: 8/15/2008 | Author:

Marian J. Borg, PhD Biography

Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Florida
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“In the early 1970s, the top argument in favor of the death penalty was general deterrence. This argument or hypothesis suggests that we must punish offenders to discourage others from committing similar offenses; we punish past offenders to send a message to potential offenders…

However, over the last two decades more and more scholars and citizens have realized that the deterrent effect of a punishment is not a consistent direct effect of its severity –after a while, increases in the severity of a punishment no longer add to its deterrent benefits. In fact, increases in a punishment’s severity have decreasing incremental deterrent effects, so that eventually any increase in severity will no longer matter…

In short, a remarkable change in the way the death penalty is justified is occurring. What was once the public’s most widely cited justification for the death penalty is today rapidly losing its appeal.”

“The Changing Nature of Death Penalty Debates,” Annual Review of Sociology, Aug. 2000

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Florida
  • Undergraduate Coordinator, University of Florida
  • PhD, Sociology, University of Virginia, 1994
  • None found