Death Penalty- Effective Solution or Legalized Interpersonal Violence?
Great controversy surrounds the issue of the death penalty, and if/when it is right to use this severe form of punishment. People on both sides of the issue argue vigorously to gain further support for their movements. While opponents of capital punishment are quick to point out that the United States remains one of the few Western countries that continues to support the death penalty, one must remember that Americans are also more likely to encounter violent crime than citizens of other countries since our culture is so full of aggressive cues for people to follow (Brownlee 31). Interpersonal violence is a shockingly common form of crime, and it involves one person unjustly hurting or violating someone in some way. Justice mandates that criminals receive what they deserve, and this idea of reciprocity demands that justice enforcers use violence against a particularly brutal criminal, if of course it is deemed a fit penalty. Thus, each case is unique, and so the punishment must fit the crime. If a burglar deserves imprisonment, then a murderer deserves death (Winters 168). Therefore, I hold the death penalty as a useful crime deterrent rather than an unjust exploitation of interpersonal violence. The death penalty is not cruel or excessive. Rather, it is a necessary reaction to heinous crimes, and is a most suitable punishment for capital offenders. Seventy-five percent of Americans support the death penalty, according to Turner, because it provides a deterrent to some would-be murderers and it also provides for moral and legal justice (83). Deterrence is a theory that weighs the effectiveness of a punishment (does it reduce the crime rate?) and makes testable predictions, such as the idea that punishment reduces the crime rate compared to what it would be without a credible threat of punishment (Van Den Haag 29). The deterrent effect of any punishment depends on how quickly the...
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