Death Penalty: a Deterrent or Not

Topics: Death Penalty, Murder, Death row Pages: 8 (2545 words) Published: February 24, 2012
Death Penalty: a Deterrent Or Not

Table of Contents

CHAPTER – I: Literature Review5

CHAPTER – II: Research Methodology11



Type of Data Collection11

Data Analysis11

CHAPTER – III: Anticipated Conclusion12




The death penalty, legally termed capital punishment, is the government-ordained execution of an individual who has broken a criminal law that is punishable by death. Since the earliest recordings of civilization, nearly every society has at some time justified use of capital punishment as a method to punish offenders and deter future crime. Does society have the right to punish or correct miscreants? If it does, where does that right come from? The rationale for punishment and corrections comes from the social contract. In the same way that the social contract forms the basis for police power, it also provides a rationale for further control in the form of punishment and corrections. According to this theory, we avoid social chaos by giving the state the power to control us. In this way we protect ourselves from being victimized by others by giving up our liberty to aggress against others. If we do step outside the bounds, the state has the right to control and punish us for our transgressions. Concurrently, the state is limited in the amount of control it can exert over individuals. To be consistent with the social contract, the state should exert its power only to accomplish the purpose of protection; any further interventions in civil liberties are unwarranted. (Scotty, 2003) Corrections pursues a mixture of goals, including retribution, reform, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation. The long-standing argument between proponents of punishment and proponents of treatment reveals a system without a clear mandate or rationale for action. Garland (1990) writes that even the state’s goal of punishment is problematic because it is marked with inconsistencies between the intent and the implementation. The moral contradictions are that it seeks to uphold freedom by means of its deprivation and it punishes private violence by inflicting state violence. (Robert, 2004) During the 1970s and 1980s, the deterrent effect of the death penalty became a favorite subject for debate in academic circles. Studies of states that had eliminated the death penalty failed to show any increase in homicide rates. Similar studies of neighboring states, in which jurisdictions retaining capital punishment were compared with those that had abandoned it, also failed to demonstrate any significant differences. Although death-penalty advocates remain numerous, few still argue for the penalty based on its deterrent effects. The purpose of this paper is to look at both sides of the arguments of the death penalty-the pros and cons, and how our criminal justice system makes legislatures, courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court chose to resolve issues. There are evidence to both sides of the argument in whether the death penalty is a deterrent or not. (Baldus, 2009) Hypothesis 1

The death penalty deters crime.
Hypothesis 2
The death penalty does not deter crime.
Hypothesis 0
The death penalty has no effect on deterring crime.

CHAPTER – I: Literature Review

A review of the literature shows that in 1972 the US Supreme Court temporarily invalidated capital punishment statutes in Furman v. Georgia. By 1976, however, the death penalty was reinstated in Gregg v. Georgia. The last quarter of the twentieth century witnessed erratic increases in the numbers of persons executed under civil authority in the United States. Although from 1976 to 1983 only 11 prisoners were executed, this number swelled to 21 by 1984. The annual number of executions dropped to 18 the next two years, but then rose to 25 in 1987. For the remainder of the twentieth century the number vacillated from 11 to 98, the latter...
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