The Death Penalty: Keeping Our Society Safe

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Cassie Leahy
11 May 2012
The Death Penalty: Keeping Our Society Safe
As of April 1, 2008, there were 3,320 convicted murderers on death row, and of those 3,320 people, 65% of the murderers had a prior felony conviction (“The Death” 1). At the time that the 3,320 murderers on death row committed their crime, 26.7% of the murderers were on probation or parole (“The Death” 1). Therefore, it is obvious that convicted murderers pose a colossal threat to our society because the murders may not only commit murder once. When the death penalty is enforced, repeat criminals and murderers are no longer a threat; furthermore, the death penalty acts as a deterrent (Ornellas 6). Additionally, the death penalty provides swift justice for the victims and their families. Even though the death penalty should be used as a punishment for murder, only thirty-three states have not outlawed the death penalty (“States” 1). Convicted murderers are a mammoth threat to the public because the murders have the possibility of being released; therefore, the death penalty should be enacted in all states.

The death penalty keeps the population safe by providing a deterrent for crime. Without the death penalty, the consequences for committing murder are not as feared. According to an essay by Professor Jeffrey A. Fagan, “executions [do] not only deter murders” (Fagan 1) with the death penalty in use, many criminals would think twice about committing a crime. Without the fear of capital punishment, many would-be criminals become actual criminals. In addition, for people already serving a life sentence, there is nothing to stop them from murdering other prisoners or guards constantly while in prison (Messerli 2). By using the death penalty as a deterrent, there are fewer murders as well as fewer other serious crimes. Many jails are faced with the problem of too many inmates and not enough space and resources (Messerli 2). When jails are overpopulated, it becomes harder for law enforcement to control and adequately keep track of all of the inmates. This can cause dangerous criminals to slip through the cracks and, therefore, can be a danger to the public. In the case of Jason Bethell, Jason was accidentally released when the convicted murderer was mistakenly marked down for release (Britten 1). If the death penalty was in use, this accident would not have occurred. The death penalty should be reenacted in all states because it provides a deterrent for murder and felonies and keeps overpopulation in jails to a lower rate.

When a murderer is set free or is given parole, there is not justice for the victims and their families. In an essay written by the aunt of a murder victim, Lori Ornellas, Ornellas states, “a criminal on death row has a chance to prepare his death, make a will, and make his last statements, etc. while some victims can never do it” (Ornellas 4). A murder victim never had the opportunity to say goodbye to their families or loved ones, they are often taken from this world violently and suddenly. It is not justice for a murderer to continue to have a life, and the chance of escaping and the chance of parole while a murderer’s victims did not have any chance. However, even after a victim is gone, a victim’s family must live every day without them. The death penalty provides solace and closure to many of the families. To a large number of the victim’s families, “a death sentence brings finality to a horrible chapter in [the family members’] lives” (Messerli 1). Some people think that the death penalty is unconstitutional and that murder for murder should not happen in our country. However, the idea of “an eye for an eye” has been used as a code of law since around 1760 BCE (Bowman and DiLascio 1). This, therefore, proves that the punishment should fit the crime. Thus, the death penalty should be enacted in all states to provide closure for the victim’s families and to provide adequate justice for victims. It is no secret that murderers and...
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