Fear of death discourages people from committing crimes. If capital punishment were carried out more it would prove to be the crime preventative it was partly intended to be. Most criminals would think twice before committing murder if they knew their own lives were at stake. As it turns out though very few people are executed and so the death penalty is not a satisfactory deterrent. Use of the death penalty as intended by law could actually reduce the number of violent murders by eliminating some of the repeat offenders. More timely enforcement of the death penalty would help to reduce the crime problem by instilling a sense of respect for the law in that sentences are more than words on a page.
The death penalty has always been and continues to be a very controversial issue. People on both sides of the issue argue endlessly 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 continue to support the death penalty. The deterrent effect of any punishment depends on how quickly the punishment is applied.
Is making the prisoner suffer by being in jail for the rest of his life is more torturous and inhumane than execution? Let us look at some of the methods of execution used in the past. Through the centuries people have been stoned to death, boiled in oil, skinned alive, crucified, roasted over fires on iron beds, pulled apart with horses, had their heads cut off, been hanged, been drawn and quartered, sawn in half, and broken with a wheel. (Hickman, 2003, p. 174)
Hanging was the most widely used form of execution in the United States until the
middle of the twentieth century. Other forms of execution used in America include the electric
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chair, the gas chamber and, the current method of choice, lethal injection. (Hickman, 2003, pgs. 175-176)
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