US academic talks on death penalty

A LECTURE series on capital punishment in the US by a leading academic marks the beginning of a busy year for a London-based institute devoted to study of the death penalty.

The Centre for Capital Studies at the University of Westminster is hosting three lectures on the death penalty in the US by visiting professor Michael Radelet.

Last week Radelet, a professor at the University of Florida, examined the wrongful conviction of prisoners who have already been executed or are on death row.

Two more lectures follow next month on the link between race and capital convictions in Florida and the involvement of mental health professionals in capital punishment.

The Centre for Capital Punishment Studies is attached to the university's law department and is the only institute of its kind in the UK.

Director Peter Hodgkinson, who believes the centre may be unique, says its activities have been steadily picking up since it was established two years ago.

“Our role is to increase understanding of and research into death penalty issues. It has a human rights leaning but we don't turn away people who support the death penalty.”

The centre has three visiting professors, is building up its own library and will help students gain placements in organisations which are engaged in death penalty work.

Contact Peter Hodgkinson on 0171 911 5000 for details.