Alicia Girgenti-Malone

Academic Title

  • Associate Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice

Additional Titles

  • Program Director, Criminology and Criminal Justice Graduate Program
  • Capital Punishment
  • Race, Sex and Class Inequality in Criminal Justice System

My research employs an intersectional perspective to examine the effects of defendant, victim and case characteristics on capital jurors’ decision to impose a death sentence in capital cases. My research has identified a “hierarchy of deathworthiness.” 

I have found that defendants convicted of murdering a White female victim are significantly more likely to be sentenced to death, whereas those convicted of murdering a black male victim are significantly less likely to be sentenced to death, even when controlling for important case characteristics.

My work finds that capital jurors are less likely to empathize with black male victims and their families, and more likely to feel social distance from and blame black male victims for their victimization. My research suggests that the procedural safeguards approved by the U.S. Supreme Court nearly four decades ago do not protect against the discriminatory imposition of the death penalty and draw attention to the enduring devaluation of the lives of black males in the United States.

  • Ph.D. Criminology and Justice Policy Northeastern University
  • B.A. Psychology Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • Capital Jury Decision-Making
  • Intersectionality
  • Constitutional Challenges to the Death Penalty

Girgenti-Malone, A. A. (under review). “Empathy, Distance and Blame: Juror Perceptions of Black Male Homicide Victims in Capital Cases.” Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice.

McQueeney, K. & Girgenti-Malone, A. (Eds), 2018. “Girls, Aggression and Intersectionality: Transforming the Discourse of ‘Mean Girls’ in the United States. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Girgenti-Malone, A. A., Khoder, C., Vega, G. & Castillo, D. (2017). “College Students’ Perceptions of Police Use of Force: Do Suspect Race and Ethnicity Matter?” Police Practice and Research, 18(5), 492-506.

Girgenti, A. A. (2015). “The Intersection of Victim Race and Gender: The ‘Black Male Victim Effect’ and the Death Penalty.” Race & Justice, 5(4), 307-329.

Girgenti, A. A. (2014). “The Importance of Examining Intersectionality in Capital Cases.” “Capital Sentencing in the 21st Century: The Retreat From the Death Penalty.” Criminal Law Bulletin, 50(2), 324-343.