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Capital Punishment

In spring of 2014, the contentious conversation surrounding capital punishment was rekindled after a series of executions in the United States went awry. This section presents three topical perspectives on the practice and abolition of capital punishment. Carsten Anckar discusses determinants of and trends in death penalty usage across countries. Ty Alper examines the case of European pharmaceutical companies that attempted to prevent lethal injection drugs from reaching U.S. prisons, leading to an execution drug shortage. Finally, Salil Shetty analyzes the effectiveness of international standards for death penalty abolition. The significance of publishing a section on capital punishment lies not only in its policy implications, but also in its moral implications. Assessing the issue in an international, political context is an important, and sometimes overlooked way of illuminating the ethical debates over the practice of capital punishment.