CPRI Mission

The Capital Punishment Research Initiative (CPRI) was founded in the late 1990s at the School of Criminal Justice , University at Albany . The CPRI has three primary purposes: (1) to build and maintain a national archive for historical documents and data on the death penalty; (2) to plan and conduct basic and policy related research on capital punishment; and (3) to encourage scholarship, conduct graduate and undergraduate training, and disseminate scientifically grounded knowledge about the ultimate penal sanction.

* In collaboration with the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives at the University at Albany Library , the CPRI has initiated the National Death Penalty Archives (NDPA). This collection of historical materials will be an unrivaled resource for scholars, students, and the public interested in the history of capital punishment in America , and in the legal and political battles engendered by this sanction. In addition to housing the records and documents of leading figures in scholarship, and legal and community organizations concerning capital punishment, the NDPA includes a program of oral history interviews featuring prominent activists and professionals involved in death penalty abolition efforts and related work.

* The CPRI is building a program of data development and empirical research for the study of death penalty-related issues that have direct relevance to legislative and judicial decision-making. This program includes: (a) the acquisition of databases developed by the nation's leading death penalty researchers on issues including evidence of wrongful executions, the exercise of jury discretion in capital sentencing, and the influence of race on sentencing outcomes; (b) the building of new data resources such as the nationwide acquisition of uniquely informative clemency petitions for death row inmates facing execution, and the development of a research program on the roots of public opinion about the death penalty and alternative punishments; and (c) the initiation of policy relevant research on principal issues of concern to legislators, the judiciary, and the public.

* The CPRI will continue to serve as a locus for public education, conferences, collaborative research efforts, and advanced graduate training with respect to capital punishment in America . Periodic seminars, scholarly publications, a newsletter, the planned web site, and the National Death Penalty Archives are all components of the CPRI, and avenues by which research findings and related information will be disseminated. Future plans include training internships, attracting scholars on sabbatical, and post-doctoral study.

The CPRI is actively seeking ongoing funding commitments that are essential to support the principal activities and staffing needed to help achieve its objectives.

Click here for a printable Capital Punishment Research Initiative Brochure!