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The Death Penalty in the United States - Essay Example

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The paper "The Death Penalty in the United States" dwells on the controversial issue of death penalty. It is stated that death penalty is a premeditated and planned to take away of a human life by the government as a means of punishment for capital offenses. …
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The Death Penalty in the United States
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Download file to see previous pages One of the main arguments for the death penalty is that it deters crime. The death penalty is a harsh punishment as it condemns one to die hence a rational human being would rather avoid committing such an offense for fear of death. It instills fear in potential criminals, therefore, making them avoid the crime and a result, murder rate declines. A research carried out by the University of Colorado on the relationship between executions, pardons, and homicides in 2003 revealed that for each additional execution deterred five murders while each commutation reduced deterrence and produced five additional murders. This shows that punishment by the death penalty is more effective in deterring crime. However, opponents would argue that death penalty has no effect on crime since those regions which have long abolished death penalty such as the south have lower crime rates than those currently using it. Assuming they are right, this justifies death penalty as a deterrence for crime as it means those areas have high rates of crime hence death penalty is needed. Moreover, the variations may be caused by other factors such as educational level and economic prosperity of such regions which has a direct relation to the crime rate. For example, according to Banner, people of the south originated from violence prone areas and wealth was unevenly distributed hence at the initial stages they were using the death penalty to deter all sorts of crime.
Another argument in support of crime deterrence is that death penalty incapacitates offenders. ...
This shows that punishment by death penalty is more efficient in deterring crime. However, opponents would argue that death penalty has no effect on crime since those regions which have long abolished death penalty such as the south have lower crime rates than those currently using it. Assuming they are right, this justifies death penalty as a deterrence for crime as it means those areas have high rates of crime hence death penalty is needed. Moreover, the variations may be caused by other factors such as educational level and economic prosperity of such regions which has direct relation to crime rate. For example, according to Banner (6), people of the south originated from violence prone areas and wealth was unevenly distributed hence at the initial stages they were using death penalty to deter all sorts of crime. Another argument in support of crime deterrence is that death penalty incapacitates offenders. The death of a first-degree murderer means fewer crimes will be committed as the individual is not able to commit the crime again. Cassell (183) noted that a murderer who had been convicted and given a death sentence but escaped when the state abolished death penalty committed more of such crimes thereafter such as rape and murder. If he had been hanged, those crimes against innocent citizens would have been avoided. However, opponents advocate for life imprisonment without parole to enable the offender to get rehabilitated and change hence reduce crime (Guernsey, 2010). Walker (10) argues that contrary to popular belief, death penalty is justified in the sense that according to public opinion, many citizens of US even in states where death penalty was abolished are in favour of it as a punishment ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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