Professor Roger Hood

Professor Roger Hood QC (Hon), PhD, DCL, LLD (Hon) FBA (1936-2020) was Director of the Centre for Criminology from 1973 to 2003, and his death penalty scholarship laid strong foundations for the work of the Death Penalty Research Unit.

Professor Hood undertook extensive research, writing, lecturing and consulting on the death penalty, and gave public lectures on various aspects of the topic in many cities around the world. He was author and co-author of five editions of The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, and in 2013 co-edited a collection of essays entitled Confronting Capital Punishment in Asia: Human Rights, Politics and Public Opinion.

He spent nearly two decades working with Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar at the Death Penalty Project, designing and conducting research to challenge assumptions about the death penalty and to provide empirical data to assist their efforts to bring about reform and indeed abolition around the world through litigation and policy engagement.

He was a member of the UK Foreign Secretary’s Death Penalty Panel and an expert consultant on the death penalty for the United Nations. His other consultancy work included authoring a study on the death penalty in Malaysia for the International Centre for Law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS Malaysia) and a European Parliament report on Enhancing EU Action on the Death Penalty in Asia.

In September 2023, the British Academy published an official Biographical Memoir of Professor Hood, authored by Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms and Professor Carolyn Hoyle, as part of its Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British Academy

Selected publications on the death penalty:

Roger Hood, 'The enigma of de facto abolition of capital punishment' (2021) prepared for Festschrift for Professor Luis Arroyo Zapatero.

Roger Hood, 'Striving to abolish the death penalty: Some personal reflections on Oxford's criminological contribution to human rights', in Mary Bosworth, Carolyn Hoyle and Lucia Zedner (eds), Changing Contours of Criminal Justice (OUP 2016).

Roger Hood and Florence Seemungal, Sentenced to death without execution: Why capital punishment has not yet been abolished in the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados (The Death Penalty Project 2020).

Roger Hood, 'Is public opinion a justifiable reason not to abolish the death penalty? A comparative analysis survey of eight countries' (2018) 23 Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law 218.

Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle, 'Abolishing the death penalty worldwide: The impact of a "new dynamic"' (2009) 38 Crime and Justice 1.

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