The Office Hours Team recently sat down with Dr. David Garland, professor of sociology and law at New York University. He spoke with the team about his most recent book, Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in the Age of Abolition. The podcast, found here, would be a great assignment, as it provides a concise review of key arguments he makes in the book. Below are a few discussion questions you could use in class or assign with the podcast.
1) In Garland’s eyes, why is the death penalty a peculiar U.S. institution?
2) What reasons are usually given in favor of the death penalty in the U.S., and what does Garland think about them?
3) Are there patterns found among defendants on death row?
4) Do you have an opinion about the use of the death penalty in the U.S.? If so, what is it?
5) What is one thing you learned from this podcast?
If the questions are assigned as homework:
6) Conduct some quick online research. When did states start outlawing the death penalty? How many states allow it?