Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Monica Swanson Social Science

Consensual Executions: Death Row Inmates Who Volunteer to Die

Monica will study the little understood phenomenon of “death row volunteers,” inmates who give up the appeal process and “volunteer” to be executed. Seventy such “volunteers” have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. In order to test existing theories about this group and to propose her own, Monica will use a mixed research design, beginning with statistical analysis and supplementing it with case studies and qualitative interviews with defense attorneys and other researchers. She will travel to New York to meet with staff members at “Death Row USA,” which keep the most comprehensive data sets on volunteers in the country, as well as with leading death penalty experts at the Columbia Law School. The resulting research will be presented as her Senior Honors Thesis in Social Welfare.

Profile image of Monica Swanson
Major: Social Welfare/Political Science
Mentor: Mentor: Professor Franklin Zimring, Boalt Law School
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