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American Exceptionalism in Crime and Punishment$
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Kevin R. Reitz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190203542

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190203542.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2021

The Complications of Penal Federalism

The Complications of Penal Federalism

American Exceptionalism or 50 Different Countries?

(p.181) 4 The Complications of Penal Federalism
American Exceptionalism in Crime and Punishment

Franklin E. Zimring

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses two punishments most often mentioned as examples of American national exceptionalism—capital punishment and imprisonment. It examines the available data on state penal power and patterns of these two most prominent issues implicated in discourse about American penal exceptionalism. The chapter shows that, in each setting, there are huge variations among American states. Moreover, in both cases, the study of interstate variation is a useful method of investigating the causes of penal difference. In the case of imprisonment trends over time, there may also be a nearly uniform pattern that reveals much about the influences of culture and public opinion on penal policy.

Keywords:   capital punishment, imprisonment, state penal power, American penal exceptionalism, interstate variation, penal difference, penal policy

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