Cover: End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice, from Harvard University PressCover: End of Its Rope in HARDCOVER

End of Its Rope

How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice

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$41.00 • £35.95 • €37.95

ISBN 9780674970991

Publication Date: 09/25/2017


344 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

5 halftones, 14 graphs, 8 tables


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In End of Its Rope, Brandon L. Garrett embarks on an epic game of ‘whodunit?,’ using hand-collected data and case studies to identify the factors contributing to the death penalty’s demise.Harvard Law Review

[A] tremendous book… What is revealed in the text are a host of possible explanations for the steep decline in the use of the death penalty in the United States… Thanks to Garrett’s thoughtful and precise analysis of the decline of the death penalty, we now have the roadmap for true criminal justice reform. Here’s to the hope that policy makers and stakeholders will pick up this superb volume and start the hard work.—Christopher Zoukis, New York Journal of Books

Will we ever abolish the American death penalty? Should we? In his carefully researched and engagingly written book, Brandon Garrett argues that we will and we must.—Carol S. Steiker, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Book

It makes a compelling case that reforms that have helped tame the country’s infatuation with capital punishment are overdue and are urgently needed elsewhere in criminal justice. It is a book that informs, prescribes, and inspires, and it is well worth reading.—James R. Acker, Theory in Action

For so long, the death penalty has been a national scandal, infected by ingrained racial bias, grossly incompetent lawyers, botched executions, and innocent people sentenced to death. Garrett tells the remarkable story of how this cloud has lifted and points the way towards obtaining justice in the criminal courts.—Stephen B. Bright, former president and senior counsel, Southern Center for Human Rights

By digging deep into the data and examining shifts in legal tactics, Brandon Garrett explains why fewer defendants are being sentenced to death and states are carrying out fewer executions. But what makes this book profoundly important is that Garrett also shows how the death penalty’s imminent demise creates the opportunity to reform the U.S. criminal justice system so that it is actually just.—David R. Dow, University of Houston Law Center and Rice University

Garrett has written a must-read book for Supreme Court Justices and Americans alike. The story of our broken death penalty points the way to what it will take to overhaul the justice system.—Kirk Bloodsworth, first American on death row to be exonerated by DNA testing

Indispensable reading for an understanding of the dramatic, ongoing changes in the role of capital punishment in American law and culture. Brandon Garrett’s trenchant analyses, drawing heavily on new county-level data, produce insights that will surprise both death-penalty opponents and proponents. Detailed examination of individual cases and meticulous statistical documentation are interwoven in an easy-to-read style equally accessible to non-professional readers and convincing to pros. By carefully tracing the long shadow that capital punishment casts over the criminal justice system, Garrett points the way to reforms which become possible as that shadow is lifted.—Anthony G. Amsterdam, New York University School of Law

By any measure, Brandon Garrett is among the top death-penalty scholars in the U.S. today, and any student of the death penalty needs to know his abundant scholarship.—Michael L. Radelet, University of Colorado Boulder

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