Week 1 – Discussion
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Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.
Race and the Death Penalty [WLOs: 1, 2, 3] [CLOs: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6]
This discussion focuses on topics addressed in several chapters of your text – the death penalty and discrimination in the United States. Although first discussed in Chapter 2, the death penalty is also discussed in Chapter 4. It is recommended that you review Chapter 4 this week, though you will read the chapter in Week 2. Your initial post should be at least 350 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required material(s) and at least one other scholarly resource. Please properly cite credible sources in the body of your work and at the end of your work include the minimum of two required references. Consult the Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources (Links to an external site.) table for assistance. Prior to completing the discussion, please complete your assigned readings and watch the following video, available through the Films on Demand database in the Ashford University Library: Black Death and Dixie: Racism and the Death Penalty in the United States. After reading the text, your scholarly sources, and watching the video, please thoroughly discuss the following questions:
- African Americans comprise approximately 13% of the population of the United States yet nearly half (50%) of the incarcerated population is African American. Based on research, which factors may best explain high incarceration rates for African Americans when considering what proportion of the general population is African American?
- Based on research, which factors may best explain the high number of African Americans (approximately 42%) on death row in the United States?
- Define institutionalized racism and then evaluate whether institutionalized racism is to blame for these high incarceration rates. Please be sure to conduct a thorough analysis of the research in this area and cite credible sources to support your assertions.
- Judges in some jurisdictions are elected. Based on your research, is it possible that judges have implicit racial biases that influence their decision making in cases? Please elaborate and cite credible sources that support your assertions.
- If a jury who has heard the case recommends a life sentence instead of a death sentence, should a judge be allowed to override the jury’s recommendation of life in prison and instead sentence the defendant to the death? Why or why not?
- How can the problem of disproportionate incarceration rates based on race be resolved?
Guided Response: Please read several of your classmates’ initial posts and respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by Day 7. Your peer responses should focus on the course concepts and be scholarly in nature. As you respond, evaluate the following:
- Do you agree with your classmate? Why or why not?
- What additional evidence have you found that can support your classmate’s claims?
- Be sure to support any opinions you have with credible, scientific evidence.