International survey of the Death Penalty

Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle’s 'The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective' (OUP, 2015) provides legal and social scientific analysis of the movement towards global abolition of the death penalty and of its administration in retentionist countries. It presents data on developments relating to the death penalty from all over the world, including new publications, empirical research, debates, international law developments, official reports, and news reports.

It began life in 1988 as a Report to the United Nations Committee on Crime Prevention and Control. This was commissioned following a resolution of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), which had called for ‘a study of the question of the death penalty and new contributions of the criminal sciences in the matter’. The Report reviewed the extent to which the ECOSOC ‘Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of those Facing the Death Penalty’ (that had been promulgated in 1984) were being implemented around the world. Following publication of the Report, ECOSOC strengthened the Safeguards by adding four more injunctions.

In 1996, the second edition was published by Oxford University Press, based in part on replies to the UN’s Fifth Quinquennial Survey on the death penalty, which Roger Hood had been commissioned to analyse for the United Nations. Further editions drew on subsequent quinquennial surveys and on burgeoning information and research on the death penalty around the world. It is now in its fifth edition and has been translated into Spanish, Persian and Chinese. This work has had an impact on reforms in different jurisdictions (see the Impact Case study ‘The Death Penalty in China – the road to reform’), including, more recently, Malaysia.

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