THE DEATH PENALTY AS A DETERRENT TO CRIME
According to the Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights (1969) each human being has the right to have his life respected. But we know that there are some states where the death penalty still exists. It is used as a deterrent to crime and it may be enforced only for the most serious crimes. There are some advantages and disadvantages concerning the use of the death penalty. Society has always used punishment to discourage potential criminals from unlawful actions and it has a great interest in preventing murder. That’s why some states have decided to use the strongest punishment available to deter murder: the death penalty. If murderers are sentenced to death and then they are executed, potential murderers will think twice before killing someone, for fear of losing their own life. Criminologists have made lots of analysis concerning murder rates to see if using the death penalty as a deterrent has effect, but the results were inconclusive. In 1973 Isaac Ehrlich employed a new kind of analysis. The results provided showed that for every prisoner executed, 7 lives were spared because others were deterred from committing murder. Even if some states or countries which do not use the death penalty have lower murder rates than states which use it, this does not mean that the death penalty is not a deterrent because states with high murder rates would probably have even higher rates if they did not use this kind of punishment. According to recent studies, the death penalty deters more than other punishments because people fear death more than anything else. Finally, the death penalty “deters” the criminal who is executed. Even if the death penalty helps to prevent future crime in a certain way, there are also some disadvantages. Some studies underline the fact that the death penalty is a deterrent no more efficient than a sentence of life in prison. States in the USA that do not employ the death penalty...
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