Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.
Chapter 36: Capital Punishment: In the United States
Although a majority of the crimes once punishable by death in the United States are no longer punishable in that manner, as of late 2002, 3,697 men and women were housed on death rows in American prisons. The United States remains the only Western democracy that takes the lives of individuals who have been convicted of what are known as capital offenses. In this chapter, I provide some historical background on the use of the death penalty in the United States and a demographic breakdown of the population of ...