The Death Penalty is NOT an Effective Deterrent

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The issue of the death penalty has been of great concern and debate for a number of years now. Prior to 1976, the death penalty was banned in the United States. In 1976, though, the ban was lifted, and many states adopted the death penalty in their constitutions. Currently, there are 38 states that use the death penalty, and only 12 states that do not. The states that have the death penalty use a number of ways to go about executing the defendant. Thirty-two states use lethal injection, 10 use electrocution, 6 use the gas chamber, 2 use hanging, and 2 states use a firing squad (Death Penalty Information Center, 1997). The 12 states that do not have the death penalty are Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin (Peacenet's Prison Information Desk, 1996). The number of executions have been on the steady rise since 1976. Since 1976, there have been 422 people executed. Texas, alone, has executed 141 people. Virginia comes in second with a total of 43 executions (Death Penalty Information Center, 1997). As I stated before, the issue of the death penalty is a hot debate around the country. Arguments against the death penalty include the following: (1) it is morally wrong to take anyone's life, (2) it does not deter crime, (3) it is racially and economically biased, and (4) it costs too much. In contrast, arguments for the death penalty are that (1) it is not morally wrong to kill those who have killed others, and (2) it does deter crime and it is not racially or economically biased. Some proponents of the death penalty do agree that the death penalty is not cost efficient at this time. However, they believe that the high costs can be ov... ... middle of paper ... ...ath Penalty Information Center. 1997. "Facts about the death penalty." Internet. http://www.essential.org/dpic/. Haines, H.H. (1996). Against capital punishment. New York: Oxford University Press. Iowans Against the Death Penalty. "Reasons." 1996. Internet. http://www.avalon. net/~iadp. Kreuter, B. "Frequently asked questions." 1997. Internet. http://sun.soci.niu. edu/critcrim/dp/faq/deter.1. Litardo, F.J. "Is execution cheaper than punishment?" 1994. Internet. http:// sun.soci.niu.edu/~critcrim/dp/faq/costs. Nathanson, S. (1987). An eye for an eye? Totowa: Rowman & Littlefield. Peacenet's Prison Information Desk. "Demographics of the death penalty." 1996. Internet. http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~critcrim/dp/states.using.txt. U.S. Department of Justice. "Capital punishment 1995." 1995. Internet. http:// sun.soci.niu.edu/~critcrim/dp/cp95.

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