The Death Penalty

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One day Timmy is asked whether he believe the death penalty stops criminals, he answers that he no because it didn’t stop thugs from murdering his parents for their money. Most people who think the death penalty is effective don’t usually know all of the facts or how much time and money are used to put someone into death row. To good arguments for and against the effects of the death penalty are presented in our reading. Ernest Van den Haag argues that we should keep using the death penalty and Hugo Adam Bedau thinks that is obsolete and we should discontinue its use. I think both the arguments are convincing, but Bedau’s argument has statistics to back up his logic. I believe the death penalty would be acceptable if there was no alternative, but since we can keep convicts in jail for life there is no need for the death penalty.

Ernest Haag believes that criminal punishment is has a more deterrent effect on crime than life imprisonment can. He states that,” Science, logic or statistics have often been unable to prove what common sense ells us to be true”(355). I agree that you can’t directly measure deterrent, but you can measure plenty of other factors. For example in Hugo Bedau’s argument he states,” During the 1980s, death penalty states averaged an annual rate of 7.5 criminal homicides per 100,00 population; abolitionist states averaged a rate of 7.4”(361). These statistics show that having the death penalty doesn’t really deter criminals. When people commit a crime that they could get the death penalty for they either don’t plan on being caught or they are just not thinking about it at all. This point is also made in Bedau’s argument, I believe knowing that is enough of a reason to stop using the death penalty.

In Haag...

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...ely six times the cost of life-imprisonment sentence”(365) Some might argue that the occasional chance of one innocent person losing their life is ok since the death penalty deters plenty of people, but that isn’t the case at all.

In conclusion I strongly feel that the death penalty is wrong and should be ended as soon as possible. You can clearly see that a better argument is presented against the death penalty than the one presented for it. We now have the means to keep people in prison for life and I believe that is enough, especially when there is a chance of an innocent person getting killed through the death penalty. Since there is evidence showing the death penalty is obsolete, it should be stopped since it is only adding to the death toll. I think that the idea of giving people the power to end someone’s life is crazy because no one is perfectly pure.
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