The death penalty is a controversial topic in the United States today and has been for a number of years. The death penalty was overturned and then reinstated in the United States during the 1970's due to questions concerning its fairness. The death penalty began to be reinstated slowly, but the rate of executions has increased during the 1990's. There are a number of arguments for and against the death penalty. Many death penalty supporters feel that the death penalty reduces crime because it deters people from committing murder if they know that they will receive the death penalty if they are caught. Others in favor of the death penalty feel that even if it doesn't deter others from committing crimes, it will eliminate repeat offenders. Death penalty opponents however feel that the death penalty actually leads to an increase in crime because the death penalty desensitizes people to violence, and it sends the message that violence is a suitable way to resolve conflicts. Death penalty opponents also condemn the death penalty because of the possibility of an innocent person being put to death and because it can be unfairly applied. Throughout this essay I will contrast the two positions of the death penalty. Death penalty opponents feel that the death penalty must be abolished because it cheapens the value of human life. The death penalty desensitizes people to murder and violence because, by executing people, the state sends the message that violence is an acceptable means of resolving conflicts. Death penalty opponents defend their claims that the death penalty actually causes an increase in crime citing statistics such as that in California, between 1952 and 1967 there were an average of 6 executions per year. From 1968 until 1991, there were no executions. In the period from 1952 to 1967 the murder rate was double that of the murder rate in the years from 1968 to 1991. Also the average murder rate in states with the death penalty is 8%,...
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