DPIC Podcasts

DPIC Podcasts

DPIC "On the Issues" podcast

DPIC Individual State Podcasts

Podcast Subscription Info

DPIC is pleased to provide podcasts that discuss different aspects of the death penalty.

Our podcasts cover two separate aspects of the death penalty. Our "On the Issues" podcast series explores different factual, legal, and ethical topics surrounding capital punishment.

The second series of podcasts details the history of capital punishment in each state. This series is currently in production, and we will be releasing episodes regularly.

To listen to any of the podcasts below, simply click the "Download / Listen" link under each title. To download the podcast, right click the "Download / Listen" link and select "Save As..." 

Click here for instructions on how to add our podcast feed to iTunes or another RSS reader.

DPIC On the Issues Podcast Series

Episode Twenty-Two:
Lethal Injection Part 2

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A discussion of recent changes to lethal injection protocols in response to drug shortages and other problems.

Running time: 6:11 (April 23, 2014) Transcript

Episode Twenty-One: Arbitrariness and the Constitution

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Interview with University of Baltimore Law School Professor John Bessler on arbitrariness and the history of the death penalty.

Running time: 17:00 (March 1, 2013) Transcript coming soon.

Episode Twenty: Alabama Death Row Inmate Freed: Jennifer Whitfield Interview

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Interview with Jennifer Whitfield of Covington and Burling regarding the recent release of Alabama death row inmate Larry Smith.

Running time: 18:00 (May 24, 2012) Transcript

Episode Nineteen: Japan

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Interview with Michael Fox discussing issues surrounding the death penalty in Japan, including public attitudes towards the death penalty, the way the criminal justice system works and the efforts of abolitionist groups.

Running time: 12:00 (May 1, 2012) Transcript

Episode Eighteen: Spanish Language Podcast

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Discusses general issues of the death penalty in America: recent trends, application against minority defendants, support among Hispanics as well as the international use of the death penalty. Presented in Spanish.

Discute temas generales de la pena de muerte en Estados Unidos: tendencias recientes, la aplicación contra los acusados ​​de las minorías, el apoyo entre los hispanos, así como el uso internacional de la pena de muerte. Presentado en español.

Running time: 6:15 (April 2, 2012) Transcript

La transcripción

Episode Seventeen: International

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Discusses the international context of the American death penalty, including international trends in capital punishment and how international opinion affects the death penalty in the U.S.

Running time: 8:47 (December 2, 2011) Transcript

Episode Sixteen: Death Row

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Focuses on the conditions and the people on death row around the country, including a discussion of the length of time inmates spend on the row and the legal issues related to this confinement.

Running time: 9:34 (October 7, 2011) Transcript

Episode Fifteen: Supreme Court

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A summary of the role of the Supreme Court in the death penalty, including discussion of major decisions by the court on capital punishment.

Running time: 7:30 (August 8, 2011) Transcript coming soon.

Episode Fourteen: Legal Process

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A summary of the legal process involved in a death penalty sentence, including jury selection and the appeals process.

Running time: 9:49 (June 28, 2011) Transcript

Episode Thirteen: Women

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Covers some of the history of executed women in America, as well as issues of gender bias and differences among genders in support for the death penalty.

Running time: 6:15 (May 5, 2011) Transcript

Episode Twelve: Mental Illness and Intellectual Disability

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Covers the definition of mental illness, Supreme Court rulings related to insanity, mental illness and intellectual disability, and examples of severely mentally ill inmates who have been executed.

Running time: 7:43 (April 4, 2011) Transcript

Episode Eleven: Lethal Injection

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Covers the history of lethal injection, involvement of medical professionals, court rulings, and recent problems with drug availability and protocol changes. 

Running time: 9:40 (March 4, 2011) Transcript

Episode Ten: Reader's Choice 2

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Answers readers' questions on criminological theories, methods of execution, costs, and the future of the death penalty.

Running time: 5:45 (January 14, 2011) Transcript

Episode Nine: Reader's Choice 1

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Answers readers' questions on how prosecutors decide to seek the death penalty, death-qualified juries, DNA testing, and Americans on death row in other countries.

Running time: 9:22 (December 20, 2010) Transcript

Episode Eight: Victims

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Covers the variety of victims' families' reactions to the death penalty, the role of victim's family members in sentencing decisions, and victim impact statements.

Running time: 6:54 (August 18, 2010) Transcript coming soon.

Episode Seven: Representation

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Covers the importance of high-quality representation and provides examples of inadequate representation in capital cases including statistics and individual cases.

Running time: 11:53 (April 1, 2010) Transcript coming soon.

Episode Six: Race

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Covers issues of race in the death penalty, such as whether race plays a role in criminal sentencing, analysis of race statistics in the justice system and measures intended to prevent racial factors in sentencing.

Running time: 5:22 (January 14, 2010) Transcript coming soon

Episode Five: Innocence

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Covers issues of innocence in the death penalty, such as the possibility of innocent people sentenced to death, and whether the judicial process prevents wrongful execution.

Running time: 7:34 (August 31, 2009) Transcript coming soon.

Episode Four: Deterrence

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Covers issues of deterrence, including views of police and criminologists about the deterrent effect of executions and statistical analysis of deterrence effects.

Running time: 7:15 (July 9, 2009) Transcript coming soon.

Episode Three: Cost

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Covers issues of cost in the criminal justice system, such as explaining the cost of a death penaly sentence versus life without parole, and the factors that influence the cost of execution.

Running time: 5:23 (June 22, 2009) Transcript coming soon.

Episode Two: Clemency

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Covers issues such as how clemency works in the criminal justice system, including who grants clemency, why clemency is granted, and how often it occurs.

Running time: 5:23 (May 13, 2009) Transcript coming soon.

Episode One: Arbitrariness

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Covers issues such as geographic and racial disparities in death penalty sentencing, as well as exploring why people get different sentences for similar crimes.

Running time: 5:10 (April 17, 2009) Transcript

Individual State Podcasts

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In 1847, Michigan became the first English speaking jurisdiction, and the first US state, to abolish the death penalty for all crimes other than treason. 


Running time: 3:25 (August 18, 2014) Transcript


In 1853, Wisconsin became the first state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, including treason. 

Running time: 4:50 (August 29, 2014) Transcript


A series of botched hangings led to the state of Maine reexamining its use of the death penalty. The state abolished the death penalty in 1876, but it was reinstated for a few years after a series of "cold-blooded murders". The state abolished the death penalty again in 1883, and has not reinstated it since.

Running time: 4:13 (August 29, 2014) Transcript 


Minnesota became the 4th state to abolish the death penalty after a short history of capital punishment filled with questions about the fairness of a murder trial as well as the largest mass hanging in US history.

Running time 5:29 (September 17, 2014) Transcript

North Dakota Download/Listen

North Dakota's residents signed a petition in 1915 about the "barbarous" and "ineffective" nature of the death penalty. That very year, the North Dakota legislature passed a bill repealing the death penalty and it has remained off the books ever since. 

Running time 4:37 (September 26, 2014) Transcript 


Alaska was under territorial and colonial rule from the 18th century through 1959, when it became a state. This long history of outside influence, in addition to several other unique aspects of Alaska, have played an important role in the attitudes towards the death penalty there.

Running time 3:04 (October 10, 2014) Transcript coming soon!


In the late 19th century, as Hawaii became a center of agricultural production, the immigrants who were brought to the islands in a form of indentured servitude bore the brunt of the arbitrariness of the judicial system in annexed Hawaii.

Running time 3:43 (October 10, 2014) Transcript


"Uncivilized and impossible to enforce." This was the sentiment of Iowa in 1872 when the state initially abolished capital punishment. What followed was a series of events that led to the reinstatement, and second abolition of the death penalty.

Running time 3:16 (October 24, 2014) Transcript


Vermont has a long history of sparse use of capital punishment and saw a steady decline in the scope of crimes that were punishable by death throughout the years. The death penalty was rendered invalid in 1972 by Furman v. Georgia and has never been reinstated since.

Running time 4:37 (October 24, 2014) Transcript


Massachusetts has a long history of capital punishment ever since it was an English colony in the 17th century. However, a famous case involoving two Italian immigrants may have been the turning point against capital punishment in Massachusetts.
Running time 4:45 (October 31, 2014) Transcript

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia is a special area that has oversight on both the local and federal levels. This unique status has led to a dynamic with the death penalty that is not found in any other state in the US.

Running time 4:40 (October 31, 2014) Transcript

Rhode Island

A capital murder trial wrought with prejudice in the 18th century set the foundation for a state that would abolish the death penalty twice in the next 200 years. This abolitionist culture led to controversy when Governor Lincoln Chafee refused to transfer a murder suspect to Federal custody.

Running time 3:55 (February 9, 2015)

New Jersey

In 2006, New Jersey became the first state to legislatively impose a moratorium on executions. This moratorium would be the precursor to the state's abolition of the death penalty in 2007.

Running time 6:58 (February 9, 2015)

New York

New York carried out more executions than any state other than Virgina between 1608 and 1972. However, in the 1960s, the state legislature began to chip away at what constituted a capital crime. In 2004, the New York State Supreme Court declared the death penalty violates the state constitution due to arbitrariness and a state appeals court effectively vacated death row in 2007. 

Running time 4:40 (February 20, 2015)

New Mexico

The emptying of death row by Governor Tony Anaya in 1986 set the tone for the erosion of support for the death penalty in New Mexico. As a state with a growing Roman Catholic and non-white population, the shifting demographics became apparent in 2009 when Gov. Richardson asked his constituents for feedback on death penalty abolition. 

Running time 5:29 (February 20, 2015)


Illinois had a long history of racial bias in its implementation of the death penalty. Numerous studies and commissions led to the Illinois State Legislature abolishing capital punishment in the state in 2011.

Running time 6:10 (March 3, 2015)


Connecticut had an infamous history as far as the death penalty was concerned. Connecticut is believed to have executed a 12 year-old in 1786 -- the youngest person ever executed in the history of the United States. Legal issues have yet to resolve the status of Connecticut's current death row population, despite the death penalty being abolished in Connecticut in 2012.

Running time 3:41 (March 3, 2015) 


This podcast discusses the history of the death penalty in Arkansas, how it is carried out in the state, and executive and legislative efforts to repeal or reintroduce capital punishment. Arkansas’ use of the death penalty has mirrored the politics of race in the state, and the podcast explores some sensitive issues relating to racial bias, lynching, and capital punishment. It also discusses the state’s reenactment of the death penalty after Furman v. Georgia and current issues with lethal injection drugs.

Running time 7:54 (May 4, 2015) 

Subscribing to DPIC's Podcasts

To subscribe to our podcast you can:

1. Click here to automatically add it to your iTunes directly.

2. If #1 doesn't work, Copy this link (Right click, copy link location), Open iTunes  and under "Advanced" go to "Subscribe to podcast." Put in the URL and click OK. When a new podcast episode comes out, your iTunes will automatically download it.