Capital Punishment – Is the Death Penalty Effective?
The death penalty is not an effective way to prevent or reduce crime. It risks the lives of innocent people and costs much more than a life sentence. The emotional impulse for revenge is not a sufficient justification for invoking a system of capital punishment, with all its accompanying problems and risks. The overwhelming conclusion from years of deterrence studies is that the death penalty is no more of a deterrent than a sentence of life in prison. According to www.deathpenalty.org, in the US, states without the death penalty have had consistently lower murder rates. Scientific studies have continually failed to demonstrate that executions deter people from committing crime any more than long prison sentences. The South accounts for 80% of US executions and has the highest regional murder rate. Research reported in Homicide Studies, Vol. 1, No.2, May 1997, indicates that executions may actually increase the number of murders, rather than deter murders. Many people favor the death penalty as reparation for the wrong done to a victim’s family; however, in most cases, closure is not the result. This isn’t justice in the traditional sense, but retribution. Encouraging our basest motives of revenge, which ends in another killing, extends the chain of violence. Allowing executions sanctions killing as a form of 'pay-back.’ Although our first instinct may be to inflict immediate pain on someone who wrongs us, the standards of a mature society demand a more measured response. Various people who are opposed to the death penalty say that capital punishment condemns the innocent to die. According to Amendment V in the United States Bill of Rights, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital crime, or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment of an indictment of a grand jury”. While it is true that a few innocent people have “slipped through the cracks” of the justice system and have been convicted and...
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