Capital Punishment & the Death Penalty

Topics: Capital punishment, Murder, Capital punishment in the United States Pages: 10 (3976 words) Published: December 8, 2008
Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty
The old saying goes, "an eye for an eye," and as for me, I agree. How many people feel it's the right thing to do to murder those who have murdered? Many families have lost loved ones due to violent crimes and murders criminals have committed. We read about and see on TV heinous crimes being committed, innocent families being slaughtered, and children being violated. I can't imagine how much pain victims must feel and go through, but I know that if it were my loved ones I would want revenge. The taking of innocent lives can be justly served by taking the life of the person who commits the murder. This may not be the greatest reason to support capital punishment and the death penalty, but it's a good enough reason for me because I feel it brings closure to the families of the victims. Since ancient times the death penalty has been used as a way to punish criminals for a variety of offenses. Supporters of capital punishment believe it removes the worst criminals from our society that it helps to save money compared to sentencing criminals to life in prison, that it's an appropriate punishment for the crime of murder, and that it proves to deter other criminals from committing serious offenses. These are all arguments for the death penalty that will be mentioned later in more detail as you read further. Opponents believe in abolishment of the death penalty, which dates back to the mid 1700's in Europe, where opponents believed that the alternative to the death penalty would be better suited by life in prison for criminals. They believe that the death penalty is not only cruel and unusual punishment, but that it doesn't help deter criminals from committing serious offenses. Opponents today also argue that criminals are receiving ineffective counsel, that racism exists against minorities and the poor, that it costs more money to execute than serving life without parole, and that by using the death penalty we are committing murder ourselves. But the most widely argued, and debated in today's day and age is the issue of whether innocent people have been executed or may be sitting on death row awaiting execution. Capital punishment and the death penalty have been debated for hundreds of years, but in the past 40 years this debate has grown and the views and opinions have changed to the fullest extent. I have to agree that there may be many reasons to abolish the death penalty, but those reasons mentioned above come with absolutely no merit, no proof, no facts, and no evidence. I will mention case studies, surveys, research, polls taken, and the views and opinions that the opponents use to prove their points, but I will show that their information proves nothing, and is in fact fraudulent. There is no proof innocent people have been executed; however, there is proof that deterrence exists, that our system is set-up to exonerate the innocent, and that without the death penalty, murder rates would continue to grow. Before going into the debate for and against the death penalty I will briefly inform the readers of some statistics and facts concerning the death penalty and capital punishment. First off, both supporters of and those against the death penalty will be the first to admit that the death penalty is in need of serious reform. In the United States the death penalty is used in 38 states compared to 12 states that do not use the death penalty. There are also a number of countries that use and don't use the death penalty. A total of 69 countries use the death penalty compared to 88 countries that don't. In China they, "performed more than 3400 executions in 2004, amounting to more than 90% of executions worldwide" (wikipedia). This high execution rate in China is one of the reasons why other countries don't have a high percentage of capital cases. This is compared to the United States which only performed 60 executions in all of 2005 and has a very high percentage...

Cited: Dezhbakhsh, Hashem., and Joanna M. Shepard. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a 'Judicial Experiment '." Economic Inquiry. 44.3 (2006): 512-35.
"Does the Death Penalty Deter?" The Wilson Quarterly. 30.3 (2006): 77-8.
King, Rachel. "The Impact of Capital Punishment on Families of Defendants and Murder Victims ' Family Members." Judicature. 89.5 (2006): 292-96.
Levey, S
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