Death Penalty

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Running head: THE DEATH PENALTY

The Death Penalty

Abstract

Capital punishment has been a topic of debate in America for many years. 38 states in America currently support the Death Penalty, including the U.S. Government and the United States Military. Capital Punishment is older than the U.S. Constitution and our nation has always managed to justify the rationale of execution. According to Clemson University Professor, Joanna Shepherd, "When properly administered, the death penalty saves innocent lives, making it a worthy punishment." The chief intention of capital punishment is to deter crimes of all kinds, principally murder. Ultimately, most states compensate the costs of death penalty cases with numerous cutbacks and layoffs, which in turn come from the prison systems. Several states strictly believe that the death penalty is a tool of deterrence but countless studies show dissimilar data (Death Penalty Information Center [DPIC], 2004).

The Death Penalty
Capital punishment has been a topic of debate in America since the 17th century. There are many different forms used in Capital Punishment from hanging, shooting, gassing, electrocution, and lethal injection. 38 states in America currently support the Death Penalty, including the U.S. Government and the U.S. Military. Although, many abiding citizens are opposed to capital punishment and there are many reasons for them to feel this way. However, there are also several supporting reasons for 38 American states to deem capital punishment as very effective. Some of the pros involved in the debate are justice, closure for the victims' families, deterrence, and punishment that is equal to the crime committed. In opposition, some of the cons are cost, humanity, morality, religion, and unnecessary pain for the family of the executed prisoner (DPIC, 2004). One of the most referenced words in our Constitution and American currency is Justice. Capital punishment is much older than the Constitution and the populace of the U.S. has consistently justified the death penalty. According to most beliefs, execution is a punishment carried out to provide justice to families of the victim or victims. However, some feel that it is nothing more that inhumane revenge carried out for immoral entertainment. Most of the nation believes that murder is a crime punishable only by an equally dealt penalty (DPIC, 2004). According to a 2003 study by Clemson University Professor, Joanna Shepherd, "When properly administered, the death penalty saves innocent lives, making it a worthy punishment." There have been over 15,000 documented executions in America since 1608. They include men, women, mentally disabled, and natives of several diverse ethnic backgrounds. One of the most startling facts discovered is that between the years 1998 and 2003, of the 518 killers executed in the U.S., the murdered victims totaled 1,111. This is an average of 2.14 victims per killer. The chief intention of capital punishment is to deter crimes of all kinds, principally murder. "We execute murderers in order to make a communal proclamation; that murder is intolerable," writes David Gelernter, a Yale professor who was wounded when he opened a package mailed by "the Unabomber" (Gelernter, 2003). "A deliberate murderer embodies evil so terrible that it defiles the community. Whether or not Mario Cuomo personally would want his killer killed is beside the point. It is for the good of society that assassins ought to die; that we may declare, to ourselves and to the world that the crime of stealing life is worse than any other crime and deserves a penalty worse than any other penalty (Gelernter, 2003)." The 12 states that are against capital punishment believe that it is best to send murderers to prison to live out the remainder of their lives, at the taxpayers' expense (DPIC, 2004). Housing and carrying out an execution on an inmate on Death Row is very expensive for taxpayers. The economical weighing of cost...
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