The political sociology of death sentence resolutions
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Objective. This paper uses Cox proportional hazards models to explain inmate departures from death row from 1977-2005 in fourteen U.S. states. I argue that political and institutional powers afforded to governors matter more in executions than social and economic conditions within states. Methods. The data represents all inmate-years from 1977-2005. Results. When deciding to execute or overturn a capital conviction and/or sentence, political and institutional powers afforded to the governor as well as economic and social characteristics of states matter. Commutations, however, are best explained by demographic characteristics of the offender. Conclusions. Explanations for departures from death row differ by type and over time. Scholars should refine theories regarding who dies and who survives on death row and why.