Capital Punishment

Topics: Crime, Death Penalty, Murder Pages: 5 (1663 words) Published: October 12, 2014
Capital Punishment:
Its Pros, Cons, and Effectiveness Within the United States

I. Introduction

This study looks to explore how capital punishment has had a positive or negative affect on our justice system. Some states enforce capital punishment within their state lines, and some do not. However, the states that do enforce it hardly ever do so, only in some rare instances. Crimes rates in the states vary with some being high and others remaining at a steady rate. Its no question that the death penalty does have a major impact when it is enforced, but our ethics in the United States, and in our citizen’s minds, chooses to lean towards the life sentence path. Some believe the death penalty does play a relevant part in our justice system because it allows closure for the victim’s families, and saves money by not having to provide care for the prisoner in jail. With the use of capital punishment, we could possibly reduce crimes rates, and deter crime in the states that enforce it, but at what cost would it be to us? The aim is to look at how attitudes towards the death penalty vary in New Mexico, and see if crime has been deterred by capital punishment, how cost effective it is to us, and if its possible that with the use of capital punishment we may kill an innocent victim? II/III. Background/Research Problem

Increasing the rate we convict homicide or other crimes with the death penalty we can possibly reduce the crime rates. However with this idea, rushing into the death penalty for an answer may result in killing innocent victims. Life sentencing is the usual option but may result in high criminal rates because no fear of death penalty. Now with that in mind, much research has been conducted with killing of innocent victims.Past research has looked into what the death penalty has done for us and according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University, each execution deters approximately 18 murders (Associated Press 2007). Now in this case, only harsh homicide crimes are the only times when capital punishment is called on. Other crimes usually result in long sentences with no chance of parole or bail. The problem is that not everyone believes we should execute a person based on the crime they committed, because of our ethics or religions in today’s world; it prevents us from supporting the execution of another. Some believe that an eye for an eye is not the way to solve our problems. However, many argue that there is no true evidence that the death penalty deters crime. From John Donahue (Donahue 2006) he argues that:

“The death penalty is applied so rarely that the number of homicides it can plausibly have caused or deterred cannot reliably be disentangled from the large year-to-year changes in the homicide rate caused by other factors. The existing evidence for deterrence is surprisingly fragile.”

So the ongoing debate continues with the idea of the death penalty providing this false fear for criminals and the crime rates continue to rise regardless of the death penalty. However, he mentions that since it is applied so rarely, criminals have nothing to fear. Whereas the opposite argue that if we did apply it steadfast then we could possibly execute an innocent person. “A total of 69 people have been released from death row since 1973 after evidence of their innocence emerged (Dieter 1997).” The ongoing process of putting more people on death row continues in today’s world and with the defense lawyers looking to attain plea bargains or quick ways out for their defendant, its hard for someone to avoid death row with such poor legal representation. The focus of the proposal is to identify the pros and cons of the death penalty and show the statistics of each side without any bias towards either idea. The research is intended to inform the reader of what the death penalty can do or what it has already done in the states that choose to enforce it or already have. Much research has been done...
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