"It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another but similars that breed their kind" (Brasfield 46). This is the how capital punishment is described by a prisoner on Texas' death row. In 1972, the United States Supreme Court found capital punishment to be inhumane and cruel towards humans. The death penalty was reinstated in 1976 after the Constitution of the United States was reinterpreted. Of the 90 countries that support capital punishment, America is the only western democracy that still enforces the death penalty on a regular basis. Only 37 of these countries executed a prisoner in 1998 ("The Cruel and Ever More Unusual Punishment" 95). Between 1983 and 1993, approximately 22,000 murders occurred in the United States. Only 250 of these homicides resulted in the defendant receiving the death sentence. On average, 22 convicts were executed annually. Therefore, the odds of a killer being caught, prosecuted, convicted, and executed are one in a thousand (95). Given these chances, a killer must be very unlucky to be executed. For the death penalty to be a proper deterrent, thousands of killers must be executed every year instead of only a few dozen. Even if the death penalty did deter crime rates, is it still humane and just?
According to Time magazine, 74% of Americans support capital punishment, but strangely enough, 52% do not believe it deters murder (95). Statistics show that a long prison sentence is a much better antidote than death. The death of a murderer does not bring back the victim or heal the families' wounds. It can, however, offer some consolation towards the victim's family be...
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...e been set free (Gross 9). Maybe capital punishment is the only solution for the problem of murder. It does prove one fact: If you can't do the time, then don't do the crime.
Bishop, Ed. "Anti-Death Penalty Stance." St. Louis Journalism Review March 1999: 4
Brasfield, Philip. "The Deed that Teaches." The Other Side Nov.-Dec. 1998: 46-47
Clarke, James. "Without Fear or Shame: lynching, capital punishment and the subculture of violence in the American South." British Journal of Political Science April 1998: 269-290
"The Death Penalty." The Economist 28 Nov. 1998: 29
"The Cruel and Ever More Unusual Punishment" The Economist 15 May, 1999: 95
Gross, Judy. "Executions Continue: so does debate." National Catholic Reporter
20 Feb. 1998: 9
Kaplan, David. "Life and Death Decisions." Newsweek 16 June 1997: 28-30
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