UW Sociologists Help End Death Penalty in Washington State


As some of you may have heard, recently the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the Death Penalty violates the state constitution’s prohibition against “cruel punishment” because “it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.” At the very core of the court’s decision was research conducted by Prof. Katherine Beckett and Dr. Heather Evans, both members of the UW Sociology Department! Their research was subjected to extraordinary scrutiny by the court for more than 2 years, as attorneys for the state attempted to argue that Beckett and Evans used biased methodology to produce a desired finding.

But let’s be honest – they’re both Husky Sociologists, so we all know the study was done with pristine methodology guided by rigorous scientific ethics. And that’s exactly the conclusion the court reached.

The Seattle Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education both wrote profiles of Prof. Beckett as she reflected on the experience of being thrust into the spotlight on such a divisive case.

To learn more about  the court’s decision, here is coverage from the Seattle Times and from Slate.

This entry was posted in Community Involvement, Data Science, Sociology in the News. Bookmark the permalink.

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