Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

William W. Berry III

Relational Format



This thesis analyzes uses and prevalence of the death penalty in Mississippi through an analysis of the history, inmates and counties. To gather this information, I looked at the patterns of use throughout the history of Mississippi’s death penalty, the facts of all thirty-nine inmate’s cases, and the demographics of every county that has sentenced someone to death. The main findings are that the death penalty is applied arbitrarily between inmates because even cases with similar underlying felonies have different factual backgrounds that make them more or less heinous. A minority of counties have sentenced people to death. The majority of the counties that have sentenced someone to death have predominantly white populations, which supports the finding that counties with higher nonwhite populations seek the death penalty less often than counties with predominantly white populations. My conclusion is that the state should abolish the death penalty because of its arbitrary application and lack of use.

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