What is the connection between the movement for death penalty abolition and the anti-slavery movement? In Slavery and the Death Penalty: A Study in Abolition (Routledge, 2018), Bharat Malkani, Senior Lecturer in Law at Cardiff University, explores this question. Beginning with an acknowledgment that the death penalty in the United States of America has long been shaped by the country’s history of slavery and racial violence, Malkani considers the relationships between the two abolitionist movements. He explains how historical and conceptual links between slavery and capital punishment have both helped and hindered efforts to end capital punishment. Using the history of slavery and abolition, Malkani argues that anti-death penalty efforts should be premised on the ideologies of the radical slavery abolitionists, offering lessons for how death penalty abolitionism should proceed in future.
Antonia Layard is a professor in Law at the University of Bristol Law School