Death Penalty and Deterrence

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Death Penalty and Deterrence

Ever since the beginning of time man has committed crimes. Crimes were described as acts which go against the social and moral norms of society and people. People have learned to deal with these crimes in many different ways. One of the most used forms of dealing with crime is punishing those who commit crimes. There are numerous ways in which people have punished those who commit crimes throughout history from making the criminal pay fines to banishing them from the community. However, in modern times, there are fewer acceptable forms of punishment that are used. For very unserious crimes, governments may simply make a criminal pay a small fine or do service for the community in some way. Offenders who commit more serious crimes may be forced to spend months or years in jail or prison. However, for the most serious crime of premeditated murder there is an even greater punishment; the punishment of death. According to Jacquelyn C. Black, since 1976 when the death penalty was reinstated, over 821 men and women have been executed in the United States.

Capital punishment is one of the most hotly debated issues in politics and criminal justice today. The ability of the government and the judicial system to punish a criminal in the most severe way, the taking of their ability to live, is an issue that is discussed and evaluated nearly every day. Capital punishment has its roots in history though. Ever since man has formed societies he has used capital punishment as a form of punishment for criminals. The United States has also been using capital punishment for a long time. Many people think that capital punishment is a very barbaric form of punishment that should be gotten rid of. They think that no civilized nation should allow such sanctioned brutality. P61According to Ron Fridell, ?capital punishment has been abolished in all of Europe and most of Latin America, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The United States remains the only Western nation in which capital punishment is still practiced.? Other people think that the death penalty is an effective and just way of punishing offenders for the most heinous of crimes. This paper will try to describe the death penalty, where it came from, and its role in the judicial system today.

The purpose of capital punishment is also a debated issue in the subject. Most ...

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... and decrease murder rates. Constan p102 says that ?other factors that influence murder rates are unemployment, probability of arrest and conviction, percent of the population between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four, per capita financial expenditures on the police force, and other factors.? He also states that none of these factors seem to affect the crime rate though none is major enough to completely cause major changes.

End Notes

Davis, Michael. Justice in the Shadow of Death: Rethinking Capital and Lesser

Punishments. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 1996

Kronenwetter, Michael. Capital Punishment. Santa Barbara: ABC-

CLIO, Inc, 1993.

Bedau, Hugo Adam., and Pierce, Chester M. Capital Punishment in the

United States. New York: AMS Press, Inc, 1975.

Megivern, James J. The Death Penalty: An Historical and Theological Survey.

New York: Paulist Press, 1997.

Fridell, Ron. Capital Punishment. New York: Benchmark Books, 2004.

Costanzo, Mark. Just Revenge: Costs and Consequences of the Death Penalty.

New York: St. Martin?s Press, 1997.

Goldberg, Steven. ?So What if the Death Penalty Deters?? World Wide

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