Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Jillian Janowiak

Rights Information

© 2024 Nicole C. Houmes


The study aims to uncover the realities of capital punishment and how it impacts family members of victims as they are often overlooked and neglected within the criminal justice system. The debate regarding capital punishment in the United States has prompted research to expose the racial divide in death penalty attitudes and unveil how the death penalty benefits or harms individuals. The study will examine family members of victims and their ability to attain closure and forgiveness, specifically focusing on the differences seen in Black families versus White families. Participants will be given various self-report measures to obtain results. It is anticipated that death penalty attitudes, individual vengefulness, restorative justice attitudes, and criminal justice attitudes will be predictors of attained closure and forgiveness levels. It is also expected that Black family members will experience less closure and forgiveness than White family members. This study holds high significance as it effectively informs society of the realistic impacts of the death penalty and challenges its necessity in our criminal justice system. In addition, it exposes how Black individuals tend to benefit to a much lesser degree than White individuals when it comes to our unjustly legal system.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.