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111 Steps to the Steel Door: A Movement Exploration of the Journey from Death Row to the Death Chamber

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Today's prison industrial complex in the United States often dehumanizes inmates simply because they are criminals. Members of the free society are generally too far removed from the inside of prisons that most people do not see the harsh and

Today's prison industrial complex in the United States often dehumanizes inmates simply because they are criminals. Members of the free society are generally too far removed from the inside of prisons that most people do not see the harsh and cruel conditions for and treatment of prisoners. As a Dance and Justice Studies major at Arizona State University, I was curious about how to intertwine my interests in dance and justice. This paper chronicles my exploration of adding a human rights issue to my dance practice through choreographing a solo dance performance based on Cleve Foster's unusual experience on death row. Research on theories of prison and punishment in American society combined with physical research in the dance studio enabled me to create a solo performance that shed light on the inhumane conditions for and treatment of prison inmates in today's society. Through the process, I found that some elements of my dance practice stayed the same, while others changed. This informed me of what continuously remains important to me, while allowing me to expand my personal dance practice. I ultimately discovered a bridge between my two passions, dance and justice, and learned a meaningful way to convey a contemporary social justice issue to the general public.

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2015-05

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Scientific Detail and Juror Decision-Making in Capital Scenarios

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By providing vignettes with manipulated scientific evidence, this research examined if including more or less scientific detail affected decision-making in regards to the death penalty. Participants were randomly assigned one of the two manipulations (less science and more science) after

By providing vignettes with manipulated scientific evidence, this research examined if including more or less scientific detail affected decision-making in regards to the death penalty. Participants were randomly assigned one of the two manipulations (less science and more science) after reading a short scenario introducing the mock capital trial and their role as jury members. Survey respondents were told that a jury had previously found the defendant guilty and they would now deliberate the appropriate punishment. Before being exposed to the manipulation, respondents answered questions pertaining to their prior belief in the death penalty, as well as their level of support of procedural justice and science. These questions provided a baseline to compare to their sentencing decision. Participants were then asked what sentence they would impose \u2014 life in prison or death \u2014 and how the fMRI evidence presented by an expert witness for the defense affected their decision. Both quantitative and qualitative measures were used to identify how the level of scientific detail affected their decision. Our intended predictor variable (level of scientific detail) did not affect juror decision-making. In fact, the qualitative results revealed a variety of interpretations of the scientific evidence used both in favor of death and in favor of life. When looking at what did predict juror decision-making, gender, prior belief in the death penalty, and political ideology all were significant predictors. As in previous literature, the fMRI evidence in our study had mixed results with regards to implementation of the death penalty. This held true in both of our manipulations, showing that despite the level of detail in evidence intended for mitigation, jurors with preconceived notions may still disregard the evidence, and some jurors may even view it is aggravating and thus increase the likelihood of a death sentence for a defendant with such brain abnormalities.

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2016-12