Student Resources

BOOKS: "Questioning Capital Punishment"

Questioning Capital Punishment, a new book by James R. Acker, a professor of criminal justice at the University at Albany, provides a comprehensive overview of the death penalty in America. With a basis in court decisions and research studies, the book covers all the key issues and the arguments for and against capital punishment. Chapters are devoted to deterrence, sentencing criteria, racial discrimination, and innocence, among other topics. In reviewing the book, Carol Steiker, a professor at Harvard Law School, said, "In the rapidly changing political and legal landscape around capital punishment, this volume offers up-to-the-minute materials and fair-minded questions to counter the partisan bromides that often dominate the conversation. A terrific introduction to a timely and important issue." In the preface, Prof. Acker wrote, "This volume is intended for anyone who is interested in exploring the history and current status of capital punishment in this country, including its legal foundations, its justifications, and its empirical and policy dimensions."

DPIC Website To Be Archived By Library of Congress

The Death Penalty Information Center's website has been selected for inclusion in the archives of the U.S. Library of Congress. DPIC's materials will be part of the Library's historic collection of Internet resources on public policy topics, which will be made available to researchers at Library of Congress facilities, and may also be available on the Library's public access website at a later date. The Library's Web Archiving Team said, "Our web archives are important because they contribute to the historical record, capturing information that could otherwise be lost. With the growing role of the web as an influential medium, records of historic events could be considered incomplete without materials that were 'born digital' and never printed on paper." They noted that they consider DPIC's website "to be an important part of this collection and the historical record." We are honored for this designation.

Resources for Students and Teachers Returning to School

As the start of the new school year approaches, we wanted to remind educators and students of the excellent free resources DPIC offers. Our college curriculum, Capital Punishment in Context, uses a case-study model to introduce students to the death penalty system and allows them to access more in-depth research on a variety of topics, such as innocence, race, and mental illness. Each case includes relevant links to outside resources, including scholarly articles. Our High School Curriculum covers the history of the death penalty, arguments for and against capital punishment, and an introduction to the legal process. It features interactive maps with state-specific information. This award-winning curriculum is now available as an innovative iBook for the iPad. Students doing projects or writing essays on the death penalty can visit our Student Resources page for suggested research questions and sources on a variety of issues. Both of these curricula have already been used by students and teachers around the country and internationally. DPIC's website received a 5-star educational rating from MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching), a program of the California State University, in partnership with higher education institutions, professional societies, and industry.

BOOKS: "The Death Penalty In a Nutshell"

The latest edition of the educational text, The Death Penalty in a Nutshell by Victor Streib, is now available. Prof. Streib presents the substantive and procedural law of capital cases, along with its relevant history, jurisprudence and constitutional applications. Streib also addresses international issues, the complex role of defense counsel, the risk of systemic bias, and the potential execution of innocent defendants. This new edition provides an analysis of emerging trends in the death penalty, including that fewer states have the death penalty on their books, fewer capital offenders are being sentenced to death, and fewer yet are being executed. Victor Streib is currently the Ella and Ernest Fisher Professor of Law at the Ohio Northern University College of Law.

NEW RESOURCES: DPIC's Award-Winning Curriculum Now Available as an Apple iBook

The Death Penalty Information Center’s High School Curriculum on the Death Penalty is now available for students and teachers as a free electronic textbook for use on the Apple iPad. This balanced and dynamic resource uses an issue of public concern to teach civic responsibility, research, and critical thinking. The e-textbook contains all the features of DPIC’s award-winning online curriculum, including summaries of arguments for and against the death penalty, case studies based on actual trials, summaries of the legal stages in a capital case, a brief history of the death penalty, color maps and interactive features. The e-book version incorporates the interactivity and user-friendly interface of a tablet, including touch-screen navigation, access to the full curriculum even when offline, and use of standard iBook features, such as instant word definitions and easy note-taking functions. For instructions on downloading the e-book, click here or go to the iBookstore on your iPad and search “Death Penalty Information Center.”

RESOURCES: Online Educational Curricula for High School and College Students

As many schools are beginning their new terms, the Death Penalty Information Center is pleased to remind you of our two educational curricula on the death penalty. Our college-level curriculum, Capital Punishment in Context, contains detailed case studies of four individuals who were sentenced to death in the U.S. The curriculum provides a complete narrative of each case, including original resources such as homicide reports, affidavits, and transcripts of testimony from witnesses. The narratives are followed by a discussion of the issues raised by each case, enabling students to research further into a broad variety of topics. Our award-winning high school program, Educational Curriculum on the Death Penalty, includes 10-day lesson plans, interactive maps and exercises, and a presentation of pros and cons on the death penalty for discussion and debate. Our high-school curriculum will soon be available as a free, e-textbook through the Apple iBook store. Both curricula are widely used by educators across the country in the fields of sociology, civics, criminal justice and many other areas.

NEW RESOURCES: DPIC Launches Revised College Curriculum

The Death Penalty Information Center is pleased to announce a greatly expanded version of its college-level curriculum, Capital Punishment in Context (CPIC). The curriculum is free to professors and students and is available online.  The curriculum uses a case-study approach, providing detailed factual accounts of actual death penalty cases, along with a rich variety of supplementary materials. Probing questions for additional research are offered in a variety of issue areas.  Supplementing the case studies of Gary Graham and Juan Garza, CPIC now offers studies on Anthony Porter and Aileen Wuornos, whose cases garnered significant national attention. Porter was exonerated after students at the Medill School of Journalism investigated his case. Wuornos, who was accused of being a serial killer, was the subject of widespread media attention and at least two movies. The college curriculum provides a complete narrative of each case, including original resources such as homicide reports, affidavits, and transcripts of testimony from witnesses. The narratives are followed by a discussion of the issues raised by each case, enabling students to research further into a broad variety of topics. The curriculum has been widely used by educators across the country in such fields as sociology, civics, criminal justice and many other areas.

NEW RESOURCES: DPIC's Latest Podcast Addresses Death Row Conditions and Related Issues

The latest edition of the Death Penalty Information Center's series of podcasts, DPIC on the Issues, is now available for listening or downloading. This podcast--the 16th in the series--discusses the little-understood world of death row, exploring the conditions on the row and the length of time prisoners spend there. The podcast discusses some of the legal issues that have arisen regarding the extended deprivation and isolation common to death rows around the country, including the risk of mental deterioration among the inmates.  First-hand descriptions of the death-row experience are also offered. Click here to listen to this latest podcast.  Generally, these podcasts offer concise, informative discussions of important death penalty issues. Other recent episodes focused on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Legal Process involved in a capital case. You can subscribe to receive automatic updates through iTunes when new episodes are posted and receive access to all previous episodes. Other audio and video resources, along with all of DPIC's podcasts, can be found on our Multimedia page.