Capital Punishment – Essay

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I believe that capital punishment has its benefits and can prevent murders when used andunderstood correctly.

The death penalty given to people judged to have committed extremely heinouscrimes such as murder has been a practice since before the beginning of Christianity.

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Since the 1800s most executions have resulted from convictions for murder. The UnitedStates is the only Western industrialized nation that still proceeds in capital punishment. War crimes, spying and murder are the only three offenses that have the possible penaltyof the death sentence. In recent years, capital punishment has become a verycontroversial issue in the United States and other countries.

Opposition to the death penalty says that states that have capital punishment havea very high crime rate. What they do not take into consideration is that all the states aredifferent and have different populations, different numbers of major cities, and differentcrime rates. There is currently no capital punishment in Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine,Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, andWisconsin. –Almost all have lower populations and a low crime rate. In otherwords, thestates that have capital punishment have it because of the high crime rates, not the otherway around. Studies have shown that capital punishment deters murders. In 1985, a studypublished by economist Stephen K. Layson at the University of North Carolina showedthat every execution of a murderer deters, on average, 18 murders. The study also showedthat raising the number of death sentences by one percent could prevent 105 murders. Itdoes not seem fair to me that a murderer can live while innocent people are dying,especially when it can be prevented. Violent crimes are capable of being deterred by lethal consequences for theiractions if only on a sub-conscience level. If the death penalty were just as consistent,lethal, and as unstoppable as the AIDS virus, criminals would have reason to back down. Following on from that, is the fact that abolitionists may claim that most studies showthat the death penalty has no effect on the murder rate at all. That is only because thosestudies have focused on inconsistent executions. Capital punishment like all otherapplications must be used consistently to become effective. There should not be anyquestion in the mind of a killer, if you commit murder, then you will be equally punished. Abolitionists say that there are alternatives to the death penalty. It is in theiropinion that life in prison without parole serves well. Which it does, if you ignore all themurders criminals commit within the prison when they kill prison guards and otherinmates, and also when they kill innocent citizens if they should escape. This is why forpeople who truly value public safety, like myself; there is no substitute for the best in itsdefense, which is capital punishment. Once a murderer is put to death, he or she is notable to kill again.

Another argument against capital punishment is the combating of violence withmore violence, or that “you can not fight fire with fire.” The problem with this is thatthere is a difference between violence and law-enforcement.

Some people ask: “Why do we kill people to show that killing is wrong?”Therefore setting executions equivalent to murder. The term murder is specificallydefined as the crime of unlawfully killing a person. So, logically, the word murder cannotbe used to describe executions since the death penalty is the law. Secondly, comparingexecution to murders is like comparing a policeman speeding after a speeder to enforcespeeding laws. Nineteenth-century English philosopher and reformer John Stuart Mill,Stated,”One displays a serious lack of moral judgment to believe that just because two practices sharea physical similarity means that they are morally identical”There is a claim that it is more expensive for the state to execute than toincarcerate a murderer for life. The actual figure estimates that a Life without Parole’case would cost $1.2 million – $3.6 million more than equivalent death penalty cases. ALife without Parole’ prisoner faces, on average, 30 – 40 years in prison while the annualcost of incarceration is $40,000 to $50,000 a year for each prisoner.

Abolitionists say that the death penalty is un-constitutional’ by quoting the eighthamendment which forbids cruel and unusual punishment’. The Supreme Court has heldthat the death penalty is not cruel or unusual, and is a Constitutionally accepted remedyfor a criminal act. In Trop v. Dulles, Chief Justice Eark Warren, no friend of the deathpenalty said, “Whatever the arguments may be against capital punishment, bothon moral grounds and on grounds and in terms of accomplishing thepurpose of punishment the death penalty has been employed throughout our history, and in a day when it is still widely accepted, it cannot be saidto violate the concept of cruelty.” So the constitution does allow capital punishment.

As for the penal system accidentally executing an innocent person, that is aproblem with the court system not capital punishment. It is up to the jury and judge in amurder case to decide whether or not a person is guilty or innocent, and if the murderershould be put to death.

So capital punishment is very capable of deterring murder if we allow it to, butthe legal system is so slow and inefficient, criminals are able to stay several steps aheadof us and gain leeway through our lenience. Several reforms must be made in the justicesystem so the death penalty can cause positive effect.

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