Capital Punishment, The Right or Wrong Thing to do? Support for the death penalty in the U.S. has risen to an average of 80% according to an article written by Richard Worsnop entitled, “Death penalty debate centers on Retribution.
” Capital punishment is the execution of criminals by the state for committing heinous crimes such as rape and murder. It is proven that Capital punishment lowers the murder rate and just its use as a retribution alone is good enough reason for handing out death sentences.
The debates over the merits of capital punish has endured for years, and continues to be an extremely indecisive and complicated issue. Society must be kept safe from these killers by taking away their function in our society, but at the same time we must ensure that the innocent people are never convicted or sentenced to death for a crime that they did not commit.
Perhaps the most frequent argument for capital punishment is that of deterrence.
The prevailing thought is that imposition of the death penalty will act to discourage other criminals from committing violent acts. Numerous studies have been created attempting to prove this belief. In addition, with the growing sympathy of modern society, the number of inmates actually put to death is substantially lower than 50 years ago.
This fact that it was more safe back then than it is now probably has to due with the fact that in earlier times, where capital punishment was common, the value of life was less, and societies were more barbaric, capital punishment was probably quite acceptable. However, in today’s society, which is becoming ever more increasingly humane, and individual rights and due process of justice are held in high accord, the death penalty is becoming an unrealistic form of punishment. Also, with the ever present possibility of mistaken execution, there will remain the question of innocence of those put to death. This decline creates a situation in which the death penalty ceases to be a deterrent when the populace begins to think that one can get away with the crime and go unpunished.
Also, the less that the death sentence is used, the more it becomes unusual, thus coming in conflict with the eighth amendment. This is essentially a dilemma, in which the less the death penalty is used, the less society can legally use it. The end result is a punishment that ceases to deter any crime at all. Many contend that the use of capital punishment as a form of deterrence does not work, as there are no fewer murders in states that have the death penalty, then those states that do not have the death penalty.
In order for capital punishment to work as deterrence, certain events must be present in the criminal’s mind prior to committing the offense. The criminal must be aware that others have been punished in the past for the same offense that he or she is planning, and that what happened to that individual who committed that offense could also happen to them. Sometimes this works and sometimes the individuals who commit any types of crime ranging from auto theft to first degree murder, never take account the consequences of their actions. Deterrence to crime is rooted in the individuals themselves.
Every human has a personal set of morals. How much they will and will not tolerate. How far they will and will not go. This personal set of morals can be made or broken by friends, influence, family, home, and a person’s life.
An individual, who is never taught some sort of restraint as a child, will probably never understand any limit as to what they can do, until they have learned it themselves. This is where the death penalty would come into good use if it were used more often. The death penalty deters murder by putting fear into would be killers such as the ones just described that have not learned a limit on to what they can do. A person is less likely to do something, if he or she thinks that harm will come to them.
Another way the death penalty deters murder, is the fact that if the killer is dead, he will not be able to kill again. Most supporters of the death penalty feel that offenders should be punished for their crimes, and that it does not matter whether it will deter crime rate. Supporters of the death penalty are in favor of making examples out of offenders, and that the threat of death will be enough to deter the crime rate. There are those who claim that capital punishment is itself a form of vengeance on the killer, but isn’t locking up a human being behind steel bars for many years, vengeance itself? Is it humane to give an individual who took the life of another, heating, clothing, indoor plumbing, and three meals a day, while a homeless person who has harmed no one receives nothing? Adversaries of capital punishment claim that it is far more humane then having the state take away the life of the individual.
IN February 1963, Gary McCorkell, a 19 year old sex offender, was scheduled to hang, but just days before his execution, the then liberal cabinet of Lester Person commuted McCorkell to life in prison. Less than 20 years later, McCorkell was arrested, tried, and convicted for the kidnapping and raping of a 10-year old Tennessee boy. He was sentenced to 63 years in prison. Had McCorkell been executed in 1963, that boy would have never had to go through the horror of being sexually abused.
These individuals may themselves become sex offenders, as many sex offenders were sexually abused as children. McCorkell may have been a victim of sexually assault in the past, but that does not justify what he did. He did not do this once, but did this continually, killing two boys, and assaulting two others, leaving one for dead. He knew exactly what he was doing.
What right does this man have to live? He has ruined the lives of four children, what will he do in life that will compensate for that? What kind of a life would the state have been taking in this case? This life is surely not an innocent life, nor forgiving, nor one that was in the area of reform and cared to be. According to Isaac Ehrlich’s study, eight murders are deterred for each execution that is carried out in the U.S. He goes on to say, ” if one execution of guilty capital murderer deters the murder of one innocent life, the execution is justified.
” To most supporters of the death penalty, like Ehrlich, if even one life is saved, for countless executions of the guilty, it is good reason for the death penalty. Most supporters, including Ehrlich consider the theory that society engages in murder when executing the guilty, is invalid. He feels that execution of convicted offenders expresses the great value society places on innocent life. In a study done by Professor Stephen K.
Layson of the University of North Carolina, showed to be on the low side of the deterrence factor of capital punishment. Professor Layson found that 18 murderers were deterred by each execution in the U.S. In 1966, 42% of Americans were in favor of capital punishment while 47% were opposed to it.
Since the crime rate in the United States has increased, support for the death penalty has followed proportionally. In 1986, support for the capital punishment was 80% for and only 17% against with 3% undecided, but most of the undecided votes said they were leaning toward a pro capital punishment stance, if they had to vote on it immediately. All of these studies and surveys show that capital punishment is a valid deterrent to crime, and obviously the public and society as a whole are in favor of it. The death penalty makes, would-be capital offenders think about whether committing a crime is really worth their lives.
Even if capital punishment did not deter crime, the simple fact that it will allow to “get even” with murderers. Capital punishment also insures peace of mind because it insures that murderers will never kill again. The key part of the death penalty is that it involves death, something that is rather permanent for humans, due to the concept of mortality. This creates a major problem when there continues to be many instances of innocent people being sentenced to death.
In our legal system, there exists numerous ways in which justice might be poorly served for a recipient of the death sentence. Foremost is in the handling of the defendants defense counsel. In the event that the defendant is without counsel, a lawyer will be provided. In this case the state doesn’t have to get a good lawyer they just have to provide “a” lawyer.
If the state chooses a lawyer that is inexperienced it could costs the defendant his life. Another case in which our legal system causes problems could be a bias judge. If a judge is bias or maybe even prejudice, he or she could rule in favor of the prosecution. One more way our legal system could prohibit a fair trial is in the jury selection or panel.
If a jury is selected that has prejudice, bias, or over informed members is selected, the defendant really has never had a chance and could be put to death even though he or she is innocent. This maybe some reasons why some do not prefer the death penalty. Other reasons are, revenge is an unworthy motive for our society to pursue.” In our society, there is a great expectation placed on the family of a victim to pursue to the highest degree, which would be the death penalty.
Pat Bane, executive director of the Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, stated, “One parent told me that people made her feel like she was betraying her son because she did not want to kill the person who murdered him.” This creates a dilemma of morality. By forcing families to seek the death penalty, their consciences will be burdened by the death of the killer. Furthermore, killing the murderer will not bring back her son.
“At some point, man must stop the violence,” is what some would say. Seeking temporary gratification is not logical bias for whether the death penalty should be imposed. Granted, revenge is easily confused with retribution, and most would agree that the punishment should fit the crime, but the question by the supporters against capital punishment is, “Can society really justify murdering someone else simply on the bias that they deserve it?” Government has the right and duty to protect the greater good against people who jeopardize the welfare of society, but a killer an be sentenced to life without chance of parole, and society will be just as safe as if he had been executed. The supporters of non-capital punishment also believe that a vast misconception concerning the death penalty is that it saves society the costs of keeping inmates imprisoned for long periods.
In the act of preserving due process of justice, the court appeals involved with the death penalty becomes a long, drawn out and very expensive process. The average time between sentencing and execution for the 31 prisoners put on death row in 1992 was 114 months, or nine and a half years. Criminal justice process expenses, trial court costs, appeals, post conviction costs, and prison costs perhaps including years served on death row awaiting execution all totaled, the extra cost per execution calculated over a quarter dollars, and per execution exceeded two million dollars. When you compare this to the average costs for a twenty-year prison term for the first-degree murderer, roughly $330 thousand dollars, the cost of putting someone away for life is a deal.
Is it really worth the hassle and money to kill a criminal, when we can put them away for life for less money with a great deal more ease? Capital punishment is such a volatile issue, and both sides are so deeply rooted in their views that they are willing to do almost anything to sway all of the people they can to their side. We must be careful though to never, even when suspicion may cause considerable doubts send an innocent person to be executed. It probably has occurred numerous times in the history of the world, but with proper police investigations it should be avoided. Yet, whenever the evidence shows that the individual is a threat to the peace of society as long as he or she is alive, capital punishment must be used.
Advantages of Capital Punishment As much as people complain about the laws in the United States are they strict enough? Are there any penalties for murder that are enough to scare a person away from the crime they are planning to commit? The answer in most cases is no, this is why the death penalty should be used in all states and more often. The death penalty is a cost effective deterrent for the USA’s problem of violet criminals. The death penalty has been part of justices systems since the beginning of civilization. It was used as a way to punish criminals for crimes of all types.
The law was a lot stricter in history, you could be executed for things such as stealing, being accused of being a witch and many other things. The majority of the executions in history until around the 1830’s most countries performed the executions in public. Now there are very few countries that hold public executions but it is not completely unheard of. The methods of execution were also much more cruel.
Methods such as burning at the stake, stoning, thrown to animals, thrown from a cliff among other things. If anything, the methods used today are a walk in the park compared to methods used throughout history. When some people think of the death penalty they think that it is wrong for the government to take away this persons life. When you stop to look at the Gulbin – 2 subject it is only fair and in the end it is in the best interest of the country.
Every year cold blooded killers are sentenced to life in prison, which is not fair when they sentenced their victim to death. The problem in the USA today is we are not hard enough on our violent criminals. There are to many repeat offenders who could have been stopped the first time the committed a crime. In 1993 criminals on parole committed 84,800 crimes, this included 13,200 murders, 12,900 rapes and 49,500 robberies.
Statistics like these shows that some criminals are not effected by the penalties we give them. Criminals have the upper hand in most cases. Around sixty two percent of violent crimes result in death and even less result in jail time. The average person in jail for murder spends just under three years before they are released.
These criminals only loose three years of their life while their victims lost all of it. Something is very wrong with these statistics and something like the death penalty should be brought into effect to put an end to it. The death penalty has the potential to be a very effective deterrent. If the death penalty was enforced on a regular basis and at a swifter pace it would have criminals scared stiff.
One way to look at it is, how many people would commit a murder if as soon as their victim died they would die. If this were the case not many people would murder unless they also wanted to die. The problem in the US is we take to long to carry out the process. “Commute me or electrocute me, don’t drag it out” (Jesse Walter Bishop).
The average inmate on death row is there for nine years. This time costs the state massive amounts of money. In those nine Gulbin – 3 years the state has to pay to keep the inmate in prison but in addition they must pay for the countless appeals they inmate carries out. If there was a limit and stricter grounds to place an appeal the death penalty would be a cheap and permanent solution to killers.
“The death penalty is a warning, just like a lighthouse throwing light beams out to sea. We hear about shipwrecks, but do not hear about the ships the lighthouse guides safley on their way. We don’t have proof of the number of ships it saves, but we do not tear the light house down” (Hyam Barshay). This quote is showing that even though we can’t say how many murders capital punishment has prevented it is still known to help prevent people from killing.
Even with all the appeals and jail time, capital punishment is cheaper than life with out parole. On average it costs three million dollars for a life without parole inmate. This costs comes from the thirty four thousand per year for the cell for fifty years and seventy five thousand dollars for the trial. On the other hand it only costs about one point eight million dollars for an inmate severing a death sentence.
This cost is from the sixty thousand a year for the cell for six years and one point five million dollars for the trial. The death penalty is cheaper now than life without parole and if there were less appeals the whole thing would be even cheaper. One big question is what crimes warrant the death of the perpetrator. The obvious one is murder.
This goes with out question, anyone who takes someone’s Gulbin – 4 life in a premeditated murder should have their life taken from them as well. Other crimes that may warrant a death sentence is drug dealers. This may seem very harsh and outlandish but it would be sure to stop the problem. Some people see drug dealing as a simple and easy way to make big money fast.
They understand there is a risk involved but not a very big one. They would be sure to think twice if they were going to die if they were caught. In many countries in Asia they have very strict rules like this and most of those countries are very safe to live in. One example of this is Singapore.
They have very strict rules, people can’t even chew gum, but when you walk down the streets they are all spotless and you don’t have to worry about being mugged. So while their rules may seem unfair, it makes the country a very nice place to live in. Many people who oppose the death penalty argue that it is not ethical to execute a murderer. When one stops to think about this, the statement does not hold much water.
This punishment seems to be the only fair punishment for someone who took someone’s life for whatever reason. “an eye for an eye”, someone took a persons life and the same should happen to them. If someone close to an abolitionist was murdered they would make a quick conversion to a supporter because they would want the criminal dead. This is why most abolitionist are people who grew up in a well off family and in a nice neighborhood.
They support the penalty because chances are, they have never been affected by a murder or a violent crime. Capital punishment not only serves Gulbin – 5 as retribution for the victim but also for the family of the victim. It would not seem fair that someone took a way a loved ones life and they spent a little time in jail, death is the only fair punishment. Abolitionists also say that when the state executes someone, it is really just like murder.
If it is murder when the state executes a criminal, is it kidnapping when we put inmates in a cell and they are held against their will? In both cases the answer is no. There is a difference between premeditated murder and a criminals execution. When a murderer kills someone, there is no trial, there was no crime committed, there is no reason why that person should loose their life. An execution is not wrong because this person has commitied a crime that’s punishment is death.
A big issue is are the methods we use to execute criminals today painless and ethical? The answer is no, today’s methods are not always painless. All methods can be botched and result in pain for the criminal. Is this fair to them? Some would say that it is wrong to put them through that kind of pain, but one must imagine the fear and pain that the victim was going through right before the inmate killed them. So if it takes three times to electrocute someone and there hair catches on fire, or the chemicals are not mixed right for the injection and it is not painless or the noose is not tied right and it takes five minutes for them to die, or when the pellets are dropped and they cough and gag as they gasp for air, chances are it was not half as bad as what the victim went through.
Although the criminal Gulbin – 6 should not be offered a painless death, there are methods that can be used that are completely painless. One such method is asphyxiation by nitrogen. With nitrogen the inmate would not feel any pain, a couple of minutes after the nitrogen is pumped into the room they would go unconscious. Then they would die painlessly in the next couple of minutes.
Another plus to this method is that their organs could be donated to hospitals. This method would save lives by taking a criminal off the streets and giving organs to a dying person. There is a chance that an innocent person could be convicted and executed by mistake. While this is a chance, it is not a very probable thing to happen.
Today’s legal system has may things to prevent this. Trials for capital crimes have to phases. The first phase is only concerned with the guilt of the accused. The second phase is devoted to the issue of the sentence.
Also with the advancements in technology with DNA and such, we are able to prove most times with out a doubt if someone committed the crime. Out of the eight thousand criminals that have been executed, it is thought that only twenty-three of them may have been innocent. Out of these twenty-three cases twelve had very little or no evidence to prove that the person was guilty. The United States is the last major commercial country in the west that is still using the death penalty.
Some say that this shows that we should stop because everyone else is, but this quote from Ernest Van den Hag makes a valid point, “I can’t give much weight to the argument suggested by Prof. Conrad because many Gulbin – 7 countries have abolished the death penalty, we to should abolish it. If many countries follow the Soviets and institute cruel concentration camps, should we to follow? Should our national decisions follow international fashion?” This country has a fairly large crime problem and it is about time that it buckles down and takes action against it. This country is being to easy on criminals and not being fair to the law abiding citizens.
The streets should be made safer for everyone. Police are on the streets trying to make this a safer place to live, and they should not have to worry, that the next person they pull over for speeding is going to pull out a gun and kill them to try and avoid being arrested. People like that should not have a chance to commit an atrocity like that more than once and others thinking about it should have a reason to be scarred away by the fact they may loose there life it they pull the trigger. So while there are still people that say it is a much better solution to put criminals in jail for life, should research the subject deeper and see all of the benefits of capital punishment and how it could better the United States.
The money that is saved from this should be used for important things such as schools, the homeless, and people who need and deserve it. It should not be used so a heartless murderer can stay alive in jail and possibly kill again. When it comes down to it, there is not reason that the death penalty should not be used and not used more often.
Cite this Capital Punishment
Capital Punishment. (2018, Jun 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/capital-punishment-essay/