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The Death Penalty: Keeping Our Society Safe

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As of April 1, 2008, there were 3,320 convicted murderers on death row, and of those 3,320 people, 65% of the murderers had a prior felony conviction (“The Death” 1). At the time that the 3,320 murderers on death row committed their crime, 26. 7% of the murderers were on probation or parole (“The Death” 1). Therefore, it is obvious that convicted murderers pose a colossal threat to our society because the murders may not only commit murder once. When the death penalty is enforced, repeat criminals and murderers are no longer a threat; furthermore, the death penalty acts as a deterrent (Ornellas 6).

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Additionally, the death penalty provides swift justice for the victims and their families. Even though the death penalty should be used as a punishment for murder, only thirty-three states have not outlawed the death penalty (“States” 1). Convicted murderers are a mammoth threat to the public because the murders have the possibility of being released; therefore, the death penalty should be enacted in all states. The death penalty keeps the population safe by providing a deterrent for crime.

Without the death penalty, the consequences for committing murder are not as feared. According to an essay by Professor Jeffrey A.

Fagan, “executions [do] not only deter murders” (Fagan 1) with the death penalty in use, many criminals would think twice about committing a crime. Without the fear of capital punishment, many would-be criminals become actual criminals. In addition, for people already serving a life sentence, there is nothing to stop them from murdering other prisoners or guards constantly while in prison (Messerli 2). By using the death penalty as a deterrent, there are fewer murders as well as fewer other serious crimes. Many jails are faced with the problem of too many inmates and not enough space and resources (Messerli 2).

When jails are overpopulated, it becomes harder for law enforcement to control and adequately keep track of all of the inmates. This can cause dangerous criminals to slip through the cracks and, therefore, can be a danger to the public. In the case of Jason Bethell, Jason was accidentally released when the convicted murderer was mistakenly marked down for release (Britten 1). If the death penalty was in use, this accident would not have occurred. The death penalty should be reenacted in all states because it provides a deterrent for murder and felonies and keeps overpopulation in jails to a lower rate.

When a murderer is set free or is given parole, there is not justice for the victims and their families. In an essay written by the aunt of a murder victim, Lori Ornellas, Ornellas states, “a criminal on death row has a chance to prepare his death, make a will, and make his last statements, etc. while some victims can never do it” (Ornellas 4). A murder victim never had the opportunity to say goodbye to their families or loved ones, they are often taken from this world violently and suddenly.

It is not justice for a murderer to continue to have a life, and the chance of escaping and the chance of parole while a murderer’s victims did not have any chance. However, even after a victim is gone, a victim’s family must live every day without them. The death penalty provides solace and closure to many of the families. To a large number of the victim’s families, “a death sentence brings finality to a horrible chapter in [the family members’] lives” (Messerli 1). Some people think that the death penalty is unconstitutional and that murder for murder should not happen in our country.

However, the idea of “an eye for an eye” has been used as a code of law since around 1760 BCE (Bowman and DiLascio 1). This, therefore, proves that the punishment should fit the crime. Thus, the death penalty should be enacted in all states to provide closure for the victim’s families and to provide adequate justice for victims. It is no secret that murderers and convicted felons pose a huge threat to the safety of the population; there are many cases in which a convicted murderer was offered the chance of parole and, when they were freed, murdered again.

An example of a case like this is the case of Robert Massie who murdered a mother of two and then was offered the chance of parole for testifying against his accomplice (Hall 1). According to Charlene Hall, “Massie was paroled, but eight months later robbed and murdered businessman Boris Naumoff in San Francisco” (Hall 1). The case of Robert Massie shows that convicted murderers can be set free only to murder again, creating an enormous threat to the safety of society. Out of a number of 1,000 murderers, an estimate puts the number of victims at around 1,895 people (Hall 1).

This means that several of the 1,000 murderers committed murder more than once. It is obvious that murderers often have more than one victim and, therefore, put the safety of the population at risk. Of the 3,320 on death row on January 1, 2005, 14% of the criminals had amassed more than one death sentence (“The Death” 1). When the death penalty is not being enforced, all of the felons have the possibility of escaping. According to the FBI, in the notorious case of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Champion Barrow, Clyde was put in prison before escaping using a gun Bonnie had smuggled to him (“Bonnie” 1).

After escaping, Clyde joined Bonnie and went on a crime spree that ended in several robberies and an estimated thirteen murders (“Bonnie” 1). If felons were to escape, like Clyde Champion Barrow, the safety of the people around them would be taken away. As many of the stories and statistics show, many murderers are repeat offenders. With the possibility of parole or escape, convicted murderers are a danger to the welfare of the public. The debate that life is sacred is an immense debate around the death penalty. Many believe that execution is murder in itself.

A lot of people also believe that the death penalty is an insidious form of punishment. According to Peter L. Berger, director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston University, the death penalty is “an act of torture” (Berger 95). However, execution is a punishment for a crime. In an interview with Professor van den Haag, a psychoanalyst and adjunct professor at New York University, van den Haag was quoted as saying, “I hold life sacred, and because I hold it sacred, I feel that anyone who takes some one’s life should know that thereby he [the murderer] forsakes his own” (qtd. n Ornellas 8). This means that when a person commits murder, that person is taking another person’s life away. Therefore, when a murder is committed, the murderer gives up the rights to life by taking away another person’s right to life because life is sacred. Also, an essay by Jeffery Bowman and Tracey M. DiLascio states, “by not recognizing the lives of their victims as sacred, they cannot claim their own lives are sacred” (Bowman and DiLascio 3). When a murderer decides to take someone’s life, the murderer, therefore, gives up the right to have a life of his or her own.

According to Steven Plaut, PhD, Associate Professor of Finance and Business at the University of Haifa (Israel), capital punishment is a way for murderers to achieve atonement for their souls in the Jewish religion (Plaut 1). This quote shows that execution for murder is believed by some religions to be a way of atonement for the murderer’s soul. Capital punishment should be used as a way for murderers to achieve atonement for the crimes committed. In conclusion, the death penalty keeps our society safe from murderers and harsh criminals.

In 2004, the state of New York abolished the death penalty; however, South Dakota still uses the death penalty. In New York, the murder rate is 4. 5 murders per 100,000 people, while in South Dakota the murder rate is 2. 8 murders per 100,000 people (“State” 1-2). This shows that the death penalty acts as a deterrent for murder which, in turn, prevents overcrowding in jails. The execution of murderers also provides some closure and comfort to some of the victims’ families. The death penalty needs to be enacted in all states to provide swift justice for the victims and their families.

Capital punishment provides law enforcement with a way to extirpate any chance of parole which keeps criminals off of the streets. By taking a person’s life, a murderer gives up the right to have a life like the one that the murderer took from the victim. In addition, in Judaism, execution is believed to be a way for murderers to achieve atonement for their sins (Plaut 1). The only way to provide a deterrent for crime, attain justice for victims, and provide safety to the population is to reenact the death penalty in all states. Therefore, the death penalty should be enacted in the entirety of the United States of America.

Works Cited

Berger, Peter L. “The Death Penalty Is Cruel and Unusual Punishment.” 2000. The Death Penalty. U.S.A.: Greenhaven, 2002. 92-95. Print. “Bonnie and Clyde.” FBI. U.S. Department of Justice. Web. 08 May 2012. Bowman, Jeffrey, and Tracey M. DiLascio. Counterpoint: The Death Penalty Is Necessary. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 10 May 2012. Britten, Nick. “Man Accused of Murder Is Accidentally Released from Prison.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 17 Nov. 2009. Web. 8 May 2012. “The Death Penalty in the United States.” Welcome to the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The Clark County Prosecuting Attorney. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. Fagan, Jeffrey A. “Capital Punishment: Deterrent Effects & Capital Costs.” Columbia Law School. Columbia Law School, 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2012. Hall, Charlene. “Who Speaks for the Victims of Those We Execute?” Pro-death Penalty.com. Pro-deathpenalty.com, 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2012. Messerli, Joe. “Should the Death Penalty Be Banned as a Form of Punishment?” BalancedPolitics.org. BalancedPolitics.org. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. “State by State Database.” Death Penalty Information Center. Death Penalty Information Center, 2012. Web. 10 May 2012. “States With and Without the Death Penalty.” Death Penalty Information Center. Death Penalty Information Center, 2012. Web. 10 May 2012. Ornellas, Lori. “DEATH PENALTY ARGUMENTS.” Pro-death Penalty.com. 3 May 2001. Web. 02 Apr. 2012. Plaut, Steven. “Judaism’s Pro-Death Penalty Tradition.” JewishPress.com. JewishPress.com, 23 Apr. 2004. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

Cite this The Death Penalty: Keeping Our Society Safe

The Death Penalty: Keeping Our Society Safe. (2016, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-death-penalty-keeping-our-society-safe/

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