Death Penalty

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Does an eye for an eye still have a place in society today? To many the death penalty does have its place in society. Imagine that someone kidnapped your child and then killed them. What would you want to do to that person? Most people would answer to kill them. In fact in 2000, fifty-eight percent of the population agreed that if someone was convicted of murdering a child, then they should be put to death (www.dc.state.fl.com). Capital Punishment is defined by Encarta as, "the legal infliction of death as a penalty for violating criminal law,"(Encarta "Death Penalty Definition"). Methods of execution have included such practices as crucifixion, stoning, drowning, burning at the stake, impaling, and beheading (Ref. Volume 5). Today capital punishment is typically accomplished by lethal gas or injection, electrocution, hanging, or shooting. Encarta cites that, on average seventy-five executions occur each year throughout the United States (Encarta "Death Penalty"). Out of fifty states, thirty-eight use the death penalty (www.prisonwall.org). This is one of the most if not the most controversial severe practices in the modern world. Although, this may seem to be an extreme form of punishment, it's really just fair treatment.

There are many murders that could have been prevented if capital punishment had been used in the first place. For example, in 1983, sixteen-year-old Shari Ann Merton was killed and her killer Corey Barton accepted a plea bargain, which ended his punishment in nine years and eight months prison time. In 1998 Barton was charged once again with second-degree murder of a twenty seven-year-old female (Gottfried pg36). "He was one of many killers, who go free and kill again" proponents of capital punishment said (Gottfried pg 36). When the death penalty is enforced that doesn't happen. "By executing murders, you prevent them from murdering again and again" added proponents of capital punishment (Gottfried pg 36). Those in favor of capital punishment point out that murderers have proven by their acts that they are violent people. A condition that most people would react to as killers with rage that is sometimes uncontrollable. These murders could have been prevented if the judge or jury had sentenced the subject to death rather than a prison sentence, which he received early parole from (Gottfied pg.36). This is one of the thousands of examples when if capital punishment had been used more deaths would have been prevented. Of the roughly 52,000 state prison inmates serving time for murder in 1984, an estimated 810 had previously been convicted of murder and had killed 821 persons following those convictions (www.dc.state.fl.com). Execution each of these inmates following their initial murder conviction would have saved 821 innocent lives.

This form of punishment also serves as a deterrent for the American population. Republican Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania was convinced that "the death penalty is a deterrent to crime" (Gottfried pg39). For example "when robbers and burglars avoid carrying a weapons for fear a gun or knife will be used in a murder, subjecting the death penalty". Psychologists say, " People would rather live than die"(Gottfried pg39). Therefore showing Forbes magazine's Steven Landsburg's 30 years of economic journals that have been published as evidence for a large deterrent effect when the death penalty is enforced (Gottfried pg38). "Over 99.9% of convicted murders argue for life and not death" proves that execution fills them with fear (Gottfried pg40). While many will argue that it is not used for this purposed it has been proven that after an execution, homicides in that area significantly drop. Most new state prisoners between 1990-1998 were violent offenders (www.heritage.org). Imprisoning these criminals save lives and help explain why the violent crime rates dropped by more than twenty five percent from 1991-1998(www.heritage.org).

Let's face the facts our prisons are so...
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