32 Criminology 107 (1994)
Deterrence or Brutalization - An Impact Assessment of Oklahoma's Return to Capital Punishment

handle is hein.journals/crim32 and id is 117 raw text is: DETERRENCE OR BRUTALIZATION? AN
University of Oklahoma
University of Cincinnati
University of Oklahoma
On September 10, 1990 Charles Troy Coleman was put to death by
lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Coleman's execu-
tion was the first in the state in more than 25 years, generating signifi-
cant media coverage and providing a unique opportunity to assess the
impact of the state's return to executing capital offenders. Interrupted
time-series analyses are performed with weekly data from the UCR
Supplemental Homicide Reports for the state for the period January
1989 through December; 1991. Analyses are performed for the total
level of criminal homicides and homicides disaggregated into two types
of murder-felony murder and stranger homicides-testing hypotheses
that predict opposing impacts for each type of homicide. As predicted,
no evidence of a deterrent or a brutalization effect is found for criminal
homicides in general. Similarly, the predicted deterrent effect of the
execution on the level of felony murders is not observed. Evidence of
the predicted brutalization effect on the level of stranger homicides is
observed, however. Supplementary analyses on further offense disag-
gregations continue to support these initial findings and permit a more
coherent interpretation of the results.
On September 10, 1990 Charles Troy Coleman, a white male convicted
of first-degree murder and sentenced to death, was executed by lethal
* Cochran and Chamlin contributed equally to this work and jointly share first
authorship. Presented at the annual meetings of the American Society of Criminology,
held in New Orleans, November 4-7, 1992. We would like to thank Mr. Raymond
Pascutti, Uniform Crime Reporting Supervisor for the Oklahoma State Bureau of
Investigation, for kindly providing the data for this analysis; we would also like to
acknowledge the helpful comments of Drs. Robert J. Bursik, Jr., Harold G. Grasmick,
and the anonymous reviewers who read earlier drafts of the manuscript. Please submit
any correspondence to John K. Cochran at the following address: Department of
Sociology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019.


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