The Benefits of the Death Penalty

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THE BENEFITS OF THE DEATH PENALTY|
CRIMINOLOGY|
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TONSHEA SWAMPTER-DYE|
12/8/2012|

Crime is everywhere. Wherever we look, we find criminals and crime. Criminals have become a part of our daily lives. Does this mean we let them be the darkness of our society? No, definitely not. Eliminating crime and criminals is our duty, and we cannot ignore it. Getting the rightly accused to a just punishment is very important. Some criminals commit a crime because they have no other option to survive, but some do it for fun. I do not advocate death penalty for everybody. A person, who stole bread from a grocery store, definitely does not deserve death penalty. However, a serial killer, who kills people for fun or for his personal gain, definitely deserves death penalty. Death penalty should continue in order to eliminate the garbage of our society. Not everybody deserves to die, but some people definitely do. I support death penalty because of several reasons. Firstly, I believe that death penalty serves as a deterrent and helps in reducing crime. Secondly, it is true that death penalty is irreversible, but it is hard to kill a wrongly convicted person due to the several chances given to the convicted to prove his innocence. Thirdly, death penalty assures safety of the society by eliminating these criminals. Finally, I believe in "lex tallionis" - a life for a life. The death penalty has been around since the time of Jesus Christ. Executions have been recorded from the 1600s to present times. From about 1620, the executions by year increased in the US. It has been a steady increase up until the 1930s; later the death penalty dropped to zero in the 1970s and then again rose steadily. US citizens said that the death penalty was unconstitutional because it was believed that it was "cruel and unusual" punishment (Amnesty International). In the 1970s, the executions by year dropped between zero and one then started to rise again in the 1980s. In the year 2000, there were nearly one hundred executions in the US (News Batch). On June 29, 1972, the death penalty was suspended because the existing laws were no longer convincing. However, four years after this occurred, several cases came about in Georgia, Florida, and Texas where lawyers wanted the death penalty. This set new laws in these states and later the Supreme Court decided that the death penalty was constitutional under the Eighth Amendment (Amnesty International).

Deterrence means to punish somebody as an example and to create fear in other people for the punishment. Death penalty is one of those extreme punishments that would create fear in the mind of any sane person. Ernest van den Haag, in his article "On Deterrence and the Death Penalty" mentions, "One abstains from dangerous acts because of vague, inchoate, habitual and, above all, preconscious fears" (193). Everybody fears death, even animals. Most criminals would think twice if they knew their own lives were at stake. Although there is no statistical evidence that death penalty deters crime, but we have to agree that most of us fear death. Suppose there is no death penalty in a state and life imprisonment without parole is the maximum punishment. What is stopping a prisoner who is facing a life imprisonment without parole to commit another murder in the prison? According to Paul Van Slambrouck, " Assaults in prisons all over US, both against fellow inmates and against staff, have more than doubled in the past decade, according to statistics gathered by the Criminal Justice Institute in Middletown, Connecticut" (Christian Science Monitor, Internet). There is no stopping these inmates from committing further crimes within the prison, if they are already facing the maximum punishment. Anti-death penalty advocates argue that imprisonment itself could deter criminals. They believe that we do not need to go to the extreme measure of killing the criminals to deter crime. Hugo Adam Bedau in his article, "Capital...
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