Congratulations to University and Departmental Honors Student, Dianne Tousley!

BSW student Dianne Tousley successfully defended her thesis as the culmination of her studies as a Departmental Honors student. 


Dianne's thesis is titled, An eye for an eye? An exploration of the death penalty through a social work lens. 


The abstract is as follows: The use of the death penalty in the United States has been contested for decades. Contrary to popular belief, the use of capital punishment is not cost-effective, an effective crime deterrent, nor is it justly utilized. The death penalty is an outdated, inhumane, arbitrary, and discriminatory practice that should have no place in the United States. Efforts toward full abolition have been made, with only 27 states currently retaining the death penalty and an even smaller number of those continuing to actively practice it. Alternatives should continue to be explored, and there is a need for advocacy on behalf of those currently on death row and those awaiting trial for capital crimes. Social workers are some of the best-prepared professionals for this kind of work, as the basic skills and ethics of the profession provide unique insight. Specifically, social workers often serve as mitigation specialists during the penalty phase of a capital trial. This role utilizes many skills social workers already possess and is a crucial aspect of the sentencing process. Working in this position is another way social workers can attempt to ensure justice is served, aside from being in more macro-level advocacy roles. 

Dr. Emily Dakin served as thesis chair, with Dr. Tynecca Lynch serving as departmental second reader, and Dr. Matthew Robinson (Government and Justice Studies) serving as outside reader. 


There are important roles for social work in relation to the criminal justice system generally, and in relation to the death penalty, specifically, so this topic is an important one for our profession. So, please join me in congratulating Dianne on this wonderful achievement!

Dianne Tousley Photo
Published: May 13, 2022 12:51pm

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