Capital Punishment in America

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Capital Punishment in America

Capital punishment is the execution of a perpetrator for committing a heinous crime (homicide), and it is a hotly debated topic in our society. The basic issue is whether capital punishment should be allowed as it is today, or abolished in part or in whole. My argument is that:

1) Capital punishment is not an effective deterrent for heinous crimes.

2) Life imprisonment can be worse of a punishment than death, not as

costly as execution, and better for rehabilitation.

3) The innocent can be wrongly put to death.

Conclusion: Capital punishment should be abolished.

Though capital punishment might seem like the only way to get revenge, it is morally unjust. Who are we to decide whether a person should live or die? It is morally wrong, individually or through government action, to seek revenge on a murderer by means of execution. The death penalty violates our right to life.

Capital Punishment is Not an Effective Deterrent

As justification for capital punishment, deterrence is used to suggest that executing murderers will decrease the homicide rate by causing other potential murderers not to commit murder from fear of being executed themselves and obviously the murderer who is executed will not kill again. This position may seem initially correct, and indeed, in a USA Today Poll, 68% of respondents agreed that the death penalty is an effective deterrence for crimes. However, some research suggests that rather than deterring homicide, state executions actually may cause an increase in the number of homicides (Stack, 1990). This phenomenon has been called the "brutalization hypothesis" and it suggests that through proposition, modeling, or by legitimizing killing, the death penalty actually causes an increase in homicides. Thus, the brutalization hypothesis is a reason for opposing the death penalty.

On the other hand, a study prepared for the UN in 1988 showed that abolishing the death penalty shows no significant change in the number of crimes committed. Since Canada’s abolishing of the death penalty in 1975, homicide rate actually decreased 27 percent (up to 1993).

Life Imprisonment

Life imprisonment can be worse of a punishment than death for many convicted murderers. Instead of an easy out, these people will have to live out their lives without many of the freedoms and rights you and I ta...

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... Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which has now been ratified by 33 European countries; Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, which has been ratified by six countries in the Americas and signed by two others. Protocol No. 6 is meant only to abolish the peace penalty in peacetime. The other two are meant for total abolishment.

Sixty-eight prisoners were executed in the United States in 1998, bring the total for an even five hundred since the death penalty was resumed in 1977. Over 3500 prisoners were under the sentence of death as off April 1, 1999. Thirty-eight of the fifty US states now provide for the death penalty law. The death penalty is also provided under the US military and civilian law.

Hopefully I’ve made the point that the death penalty is useless except for delivering some sort of closure to a victims’ loved ones, through this type of closure is morally wrong, and can be achieved through life imprisonment of the murderer. And because capital punishment is not an effective deterrent, because life imprisonment is a better option, and because the innocent wouldn’t have to die; capital punishment should be abolished.
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