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Dr. Susan Sharp Crow to address race and the death penalty at OK-CADP annual dinner

Rev. Don Heath, Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty chair. Photo by Darla Shelden
Dr. Susan Sharp Crow will discuss Race and the Death Penalty at the 2018 OK-CADP Annual Dinner on April 21. Photo provided.


By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel ReporterOKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Sociology professor and death penalty expert, Dr. Susan Sharp Crow will be keynote speaker during the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) 27th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on Saturday, April 21.  Her topic that evening will be “The Oklahoma Death Penalty Review: Race and the Death Penalty.”

The yearly fundraiser will be held at Oklahoma City University, in the Great Hall, located on the first floor of the Tom & Brenda McDaniel University Center (Student Center). Registration and reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with a buffet dinner at 6 p.m. The program will take place from 6: 30 – 8 p.m.

Dr. Sharp Crow is the Emerita David Ross Boyd Professor and L.J. Semrod Presidential Professor of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma. She retired in December 2016.  Her research has spanned over two decades focusing on the impact of corrections policies on families of offenders.

A former board member of the American Society of Criminology (ASC), and former chair of the Division on Women and Crime of the ASC, she is currently associate editor of the ASC newsletter, The Criminologist. She has received numerous awards for her work at the university as well as on the national level.

Dr. Sharp Crow, along with Dr. Michael Radelet and Dr. Glenn Pierce, collaborated with The Constitution Project on the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission to provide data on racial inequities in applying the death penalty that were incorporated into the final report.

Their research examined all Oklahoma homicide cases occurring between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 2012 that resulted in the death penalty. They found that cases with white victims, male or female, and cases with minority female victims are significantly more likely to end with a death sentence in Oklahoma than are cases with nonwhite male victims.

Based on the draft of that study, Julius Darius Jones and Tremane Wood, two African Americans on Oklahoma’s death row, have argued that the state’s death penalty unconstitutionally discriminates on the basis of race.

The Constitution Project, now part of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), is a non-profit think tank that sponsors independent, bipartisan committees to produce consensus reports and recommendations on a variety of constitutional issues.

In April 2015, the Commission released a nearly 300-page report and announced more than 45 recommendations to the state’s execution protocol. The study concluded that “Oklahoma’s death penalty system is not working, and without major changes, Oklahoma risks executing innocent people.”

“We are excited to hear Dr. Sharp Crow talk about the latest study on the correlations between race and the imposition of the death penalty in Oklahoma,” said Rev. Don Heath, OK-CADP chair. “She will be sharing her experiences from her decades of work on the death penalty and criminal justice reform.”

Sharp Crow is the author of Hidden Victims: The Effects of the Death Penalty on Families of the Accused (Rutgers University Press, 2005) and Mean Lives, Mean Laws: Oklahoma’s Women Prisoners (Rutgers University Press, 2014).

She served as chair of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty from 2002- 2004.Oklahoma has had a moratorium on the death penalty since October 2015 after the wrong drug, (potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride – the drug approved as a part of the state’s three-drug protocol) was nearly used to execute Richard Glossip.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections later announced that the wrong drug had also been used in the January 2015 execution of Charles Warner during which he said, “My body is on fire.”

The Oklahoma DOC is currently working in conjunction with Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office to develop a new death penalty protocol. Until the new procedure is in place, all executions will remain on hold.

During the dinner program, three OK-CADP Abolitionists Awards will be given to honor those who have demonstrated extraordinary efforts to end the death penalty in Oklahoma. They include the Lifetime Abolitionist Award, the Opio Toure Courageous Advocate Award, and the Phil Wahl Abolitionist of the Year Award, which was given to Sharp Crow in 2004.

Dinner tickets are available through April 13 for $50; $15 for students.  Sponsorships for tables of eight are available for $400.  Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling Anne Murray at 405-532-5443.

Event parking is available near the University Center (Building #420) at NW 25th and Florida, directly behind (north) the Dulaney Brown Library (#421), which is just east of the University Center.  See Campus Map.

To order tickets by mail, send payments, along with guest’s names to: OK-CADP, P.O. Box 713, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-0713. Indicate “annual dinner” in the memo line.

Rev. Don Heath, Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty chair. Photo by Darla Shelden

Susan Sharp horz art


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