Eng. Comp. II
30 Sept. 2010
The Positive Effect of Capital Punishment in Modern America
“I don’t think you should support the death penalty to seek revenge. I don’t think that’s right. I think the reason to support the death penalty is because it saves other people’s lives” (Bush). Capital punishment is one of the most controversial topics in the American society and is also one of the topics most people feel very emotional about. Everyone feels that their views are correct because there are many pros and cons to either side. Although some people believe the risk of executing the innocent is too great, the use of capital punishment has greatly impacted our society in a positive way because of its deterring effect, economic benefits, and the prevailing of justice.
The deterrent effect is definitely one of the biggest benefits to having capital punishment. When people have the knowledge that they could be executed for killing someone else it often turns them away from committing the murder. Tanner from Fort-Worth Star Telegram thinks that the deterrent effect has shown to prevent between three and eighteen murders(Wood 601). Most people in modern America have heard of the death penalty, yet they still commit the crimes that are punishable by death. Since people know about it and still do it, they are basically accepting the sentence, unless they are mentally ill and in which cause do not get sentenced to death. Naci Mocan’s study, from the University of Colorado, suggest that, “Statistical studies like his are among a dozen papers since 2001 that show capital punishment has deterrent effects”(Wood 602). Abolitionists argue that the deterrent effect is only estimates and are not actually proven to deter murders. However, knowing, through many studies, that three to eighteen innocent people could be saved by executing each convicted killer greatly outweighs the benefits to letting the murderer off the hook. Although, the deterrent effect is the greatest benefit to having capital punishment, the economic problem is also very important.
A suggested alternative to the death penalty is life in prison without parole. This upsets many of the taxpayers, as it should. An article in The Economist states, “the idea of spending public money to feed and clothe murderers for the rest of their lives seemed outrageous”(Economist 605). Is there a difference to sentencing life in prison or executing someone? In the end they die a captive man. It is delaying the inevitable, but not many people see that. It is not very fair giving man his freedoms after he has taken the lives of others. He himself has not respected the life and liberty that all people should have. Once you take away someone’s life yours should be taken in return. That is, only if it is murder in the first degree and the murder was committed intentionally. After being sentenced to life without parole their court dates are not done. Money keeps getting wasted in the courts after the sentencing. Most convicts are still trying to get a reduced sentence or get parole. Convicts going through trials for the death penalty and life in prison often have to wait a very long time, which in the process is spending a lot of the tax payers’ money. Either way, life in prison or the death penalty on average they wait a decade before a decision is made or the execution is carried out. Other than deterring crime and being economically beneficial, capital punishment also allows justice to prevail.
Justice seems to always prevail, but in some instances, this is not the case. However, no innocent human has been executed through the use of DNA testing. Only the convicts who commit the worst, most heinous of crimes are even put on death row. Abolitionists see that the government is just killing someone. However, like the quote at the beginning, the government does not have the death penalty just to seek revenge. That is not what...