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Future Dangerousness Revisted

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 14 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2003 Pages: 287-305
Matt DeLisi; Ed A. Munoz
Date Published
September 2003
19 pages
This study examined the potential future dangerousness of inmates sentenced to death.
One rationale invoked in favor of the death penalty is that condemned offenders pose a serious threat to the public should they ever be released. However, previous research in this area, which has focused on the postcommutation and postrelease behavior of previously condemned offenders, has found that these offenders do not present a greater threat to the public safety than other offenders. In order to add to the empirical literature in this area, the authors randomly sampled 1,005 inmates who were serving either determinate sentences ranging from 1 to 70 years, life sentences, or death sentences in Arizona correctional facilities. Variables under investigation included prison misconduct, diagnostic and criminal history, offense type and severity, and demographic characteristics. Results of zero-inflated negative binomial regression analysis revealed that inmates who had been sentenced to death were indeed more dangerous than the noncondemned inmates in the sample. The effect remained after controlling for demographic characteristics, offense severity and type, criminal history, and diagnostic measures. The results are in discord with previous published research in this area. As such, additional research utilizing different samples from different regions of the United States is needed. Notes, references


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