What Role Has Capital Punishment Played in America

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Capital punishment in America is a controversial subject. Some people support the elimination of dangerous criminals from society, seeing it as a way to keep undesirable criminals from being released back among law abiding citizens; while others abhor the idea of taking the life of a convicted felon, preferring instead to keep these dangerous criminals under lock and key for their whole lives (also known as LWOP or Life With Out Parole). Debates rage amongst Democrats and Republicans, blacks and whites, and most politicians, over a solution to this slippery issue. Unfortunately there appears to be no middle ground where politicians of either bent can come to a satisfying compromise. But capital punishment has come to play several roles in American culture: deterrence of negative criminal behaviors and morbid entertainment as we watch the trials and final verdict in the media with a sense of revenge and a feeling of safety when a convicted murderer is finally sent to the gallows. Capital punishment is highly supported by the American population. In May of 2005, 74% of Americans said they supported or favored the death penalty in cases of murder (Tischler, 2007). Capital punishment reached a peak support in 1994 with 80% of Americans supporting the death penalty and even President Clinton expanded the federal death penalty to include sixty crimes, three of which did not involve murder (Sherill, 2001). Support remains high even though critics have tried their best to dispose of the so called “horrifying lottery in which the penalty is death and the odds of escaping are determined more by politics, money, race, and geography than by the crime committed” (Tischler, 2007). Republicans stand firm on their support for the death penalty... ... middle of paper ... ...f the controversy over deciding the fate of a human life, capital punishment deters homicides, provides a platform to feel like justice has been served and safety has increased and gives us a sense of connection amongst our social relations in the form of entertainment and communication. Works Cited Tischler, H. L. (2007). Socialization and Development. Introduction to sociology (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning Sherill, R. (2001, January 28). Death Trip: The American Way of Execution (Part I) | Death Penalty Information Center. Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved July 2, 2011, from http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/node/670 States With and Without the Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center. (2010). Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/states-and-without-death-penalty

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