Death Penalty Targets Those Who Have Mental Illnesses

In a detailed, nearly 1,300-word analysis piece in the Washington Post (4/3), Frank R. Baumgartner, the Richard J. Richardson distinguished professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Betsy Neil, who is about to graduate from UNC at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science, write that the majority of Americans “oppose the death penalty for” people with mental illness.

Research conducted by Baumgartner and Neil, however, “suggests that the death penalty actually targets those who have mental illnesses.” The authors go on to make the case that those “who are executed have a far higher rate of mental illness than” members of “the general public,” using in their piece a graph that “compares the prevalence of the different diagnoses of these executed inmates with that in the general public, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health.”

Related Links:

— “Does the death penalty target people who are mentally ill? We checked.,” Frank R. Baumgartner and Betsy Neill, Washington Post, April 3, 2017.

Posted in In The News.