Is the Death Penalty a Deterrent?
The Death penalty is a verdict of death to a person by the legal system as a reprimand for committing an offensive crime. It is also referred to as capital punishment. These death penalties are executed to an individual to make sure that crimes are not committed later in life and also reducing the cost of punishing criminals. In the past, death penalties were so common in many nations but in the recent times very few countries practice it. Research shows that there are only fifty eight countries in the nation that are still practicing the death penalty while 96 nations have eradicated it (Evans 456). The death penalty in the United States is a subject of discussion since in the current situation they still practice it. Contemporary philosophical hypothesis of morals and religious leaders still discourage the practices of death penalty as no person has the right to take away another’s life. Eighty seven percent of criminologists believe that abolishment of capital punishment would not have significant effects on the crimes committed. Besides, the respondent believes that death penalty distract the normal legislature process in focusing on the remedy of the crime. By taking a perceptive look in the whole topic of death penalty it will assist us in deciding, identifying and consequently establishing whether death penalty is right or wrong (Pojman 156).
The technique used to select those criminals that are to serve for death penalty needs to be done in a very professional way. Evidently, there are well defined and clear standards that are used to determine the suitability of the death penalty as approved by the law. In most cases the death penalty is expensive as compared to any other type of crime and costs more than incarceration for life by no option of parole. For instance, In California the latter are 6 times more expensive than other execute trials but research shows that the government of California is saving ninety million dollar to abolish it. Research carried out in Kansas indicates that a capital trial is worth $ 116,700 more than a normal trial. This cost is brought by the expenses incurred by the witnesses, lengthy judges’ assortment, and pre-trial activities. The sentencing phase of a capital trial can take more time than the judgment stage. After trial there is need for constitutionally authorization in appeals; this brings about the need protection and prosecution cost. In states that practice capital imprisonment such as Texas, it costs the state $ 2.3 million which is 3 times more than a single cell about forty years ago (Russell 500). Similarly, United States estimated that capital punishment would cost them one hundred and eighteen U.S. dollar annually. The cost incurred in the capital punishment is huge bearing in mind the fact that some economical sectors are not in good position to met those cost. It is clear that this amount of money can be channeled into other sectors to reduce the number of offenses which would consequently reduce the number of crimes and the death penalty.
A review carried out in New York indicated that states not practicing capital punishment have a lower number of homicides as compared to those practicing it. The reports found that 10 of the 12 states without death penalty have murder rates below the national standard. In the past two decades, the homicide level was 48-101% higher in the states practicing capital punishment than in those that did not. During the last 10 years in the United States, the number of murders has been seen to decrease with the increasing number of executions. From the above scenario the majority of capital punishment states have the highest number of murders in contrast to those that do not practice the death penalty. In 1999, the average number of murder was seen to be 5.5 in the capital punishment states while that of non-death penalty was 1.9 less in a one hundred thousand populace (Zimring 600). William Bowers from North Eastern University uphold that capital punishment has negative effect on the society; he said that society is maltreated by the use of this punishment and hence increasing the possibility of more murder. Research shows that even those in support place no proof on the crime prevention capabilities of the death penalty. States in the United States that practice capital punishment have more number of homicides than those in Canada and Europe that do not practice the death penalty. Therefore, capital punishment is not a deterrent for capital crimes because the people who commit these crimes are not concerned with the difference between potential implementation, time in jail before the act, and they do not anticipate to be caught. In most cases, murders are committed due to anger, passion or by criminals who are drug abuser. There is no clear evidence that the death penalty acts as a better prevention strategy than the menace of life incarceration. Those serving life detentions settle quickly and are less likely to commit crime as compared to the rest. In most states those sentenced for life are not allowed to pay parole and hence ensuring the security of the society without applying the death penalty.
The supporters of capital punishment argue those that who commit crime should face justice and pay for their wrong doing. They also advocate that each wrongdoer should get what they deserve and in case of murder they accused should get the death punishment. Philosophical arguments say that capital punishment is ethically justified while applied in executing criminals guilty of crimes such as terrorism, child murder and torment murder (Gottfried 453). They also argue that failure to the apply death penalty in the above cases is a form of injustice. This dispute is powerfully protected based on the argument that the punishment must be equivalent to the crime or greater than the crime committed and it would be unjust for those who commit these crimes to stay alive even in jail.
Human rights activist argue that the death penalty is a serious action, in 1994 the United States assembly confined the use of capital punishment and advocated for moratorium on implementation. In 1997 the human rights commission permitted the abolition of the death penalty to pave way for human development and dignity. Capital punishment is a violation of human rights since no human being deserves to be subjected to torture by another human. Each person has a right to life and no one has the right to state where another’s life should begin or end. They also argue that the application of the death penalty in the society may lead to increase in the number of murders (Russell 675). Death penalties make it impossible for an individual to rehabilitate their life and it has always been misused politically to remove opposition to a government. In additional to the above, it is impossible to reverse a person’s life and in other cases an innocent person may be executed since the justice system is not always 100% mistake- free. On the other hand, crucial evidence may arise after an execution has been carried out; no matter the validity of this evidence in showing a person’s innocence, the erroneous judgment can not be reversed as the accused is already dead (Rein 800). However, in most cases supporters of the death penalty disapprove with the evidence and declare that the executed person was not innocent. Statistics shows that in forty of the people executed in the United States recently there is substantial prove of innocence. This shows that the system of justice in the United States is corrupt and does not base their ruling on all crucial evidence (Mandery, 897).
In many cases, capital punishment falls on the black and the poor people. For instance, in the United States more than 55% of the recent death crimes were committed by the Latinos and the blacks while those by whites were only 25%. This show that in the US the death penalty acts as strong cause for racial discrimination and class oppression while 90% of those awaiting capital punishment are the unfortunate ones who can not afford to pay for a trial (Zimring 567). In 1976 to 1994, research showed that the number of murders committed by the black American were 49% and those executed were 39% while whites had committed 55% and only 39% of the convicted were executed (Parks 456). This indicates that the prosecution depends on the race of a person in meting out the death penalty rather than the number of crime committed.
The death penalty may be labeled inappropriate due to the fact that there is always insufficient authorized representation throughout the capital trials. Research from the American Bar association and various scholars’ shows that what resolves whether a capital punishment should be administered is the number of legal representation and not the evidence (Rein 789). It is quite clear that those people who face capital punishment always have few legal representations in their trials. On the other hand, most of these people who are arrested by the states are poor and hence they will end up being represented by a government appointed attorney who in most cases are unqualified and not well paid. Consequently, the arrested person may end up being unfairly sentenced and hence convicted to a death penalty (Baird 845).
Abolishment of capital punishment in United States could have a significant effect on the economy. Most of the legal representatives working in the death penalty department are going to lose their jobs. This situation has been witnessed in many places that have abolished the use of death penalty as a way of reducing crimes (Bedau 145). This case was witnessed in Illinois early March after death penalties were abolished. On the other hand, this has a significant impact on the economy since capital punishment is very expensive as compared to other forms of trial (Brame 457). This shows that the money that could be used in carrying out a death sentence would be wisely used in educating the public on how to avoid crimes.
In most cases the mind of an individual who commits dreadful acts and murder is usually under psychological and mental torture. Frequently, the natures of crimes they commit are usually inhuman and hence it becomes difficult to write them in the newspapers. The supporters of capital punishment says that sentencing such a person to life imprisonment may not be the right action since the rule and regulation of the states keep on changing. In additional to this, people tend to forget the crime committed and offer parole boards for the release of the criminal. In many situations when a murderer survives there is always a high possibility that they will strike and abandon the life imprisonment. The proficiency of the individual in illegal justice systems should not allow such obstruct with the security and ambiguity to exist since these people are a threat to the society (Brame 567).
The main aim of the illegal justice system is to defend the right of freedom, life and property for all its inhabitants. To carry out this properly, reprimand for offense committed must be ruthless enough to defer potential criminals hence capital punishment comes in. The major reason for carrying out the death penalty is deterrence and retribution. In retribution, it is argued that the nation has to inflict a level of pain to the criminal that is equivalent or greater than the pain experienced by the victim. Thus retribution tends to support the application of capital punishment to a criminal as an effective way in reducing pain (Shin 126).
The death penalty is a form of punishment that makes a criminal not commit a crime again and discourages other criminals (Gottfried 776). A judge may pass a life sentence for a criminal with no parole but due to a corrupt system of justice the criminal may pay the board parole and abandon the sentence hence making life imprisonment ineffective. Many murderers do not fear the punishment since they know they will be out of jail after ten years and hence it becomes effective to apply capital punishment to those who commit murder; this helps to scare the community and the criminals. In this case application of death penalty becomes an essential part of the criminal justice system to scare those that do not fear committing crimes and prevent them from breaking the law. When a death penalty is executed the family of the victim is assured that the person will never commit crime again but incase of life imprisonment the security of the victim’s family is at risk (Bedau 98). The efficiency of capital punishment depends on the readiness of the administrators to use it profusely as it would result to improved justice and prevention of aggressive. This would encourage people to become good citizen with no crimes of breaking the laws. Hence the society will gain an intelligence of moral defense as they would critically know the consequences of committing a crime. This has been witnessed in the Roman Empire and Babylon that have practiced capital punishment to discourage crime (Mandery 906). Supporters of capital punishment argue that the latter has benefitted the country in the need to ensure that people are living morally upright and security is maintained. In additional to this, they argue that there is no need to consider the expenses incurred in carrying out a death penalty as it is to ensure the safety of the society. Therefore, there should be no need of abolishing the death penalty but the nation should ensure that it is executed to people who deserve it (Nancy 156).
The negative side of the capital punishment seems to conquer the positive points. As we have seen above capital punishment is too expensive to carry out in the current economy. The abolitionists suggest that there are very many positive trials that can be done to punish a criminal such as life imprisonment without the use of bribes. However, this is also discouraged since there have been recent cases of parole on such criminals and prisoners killing other prisoners and guards in their cells on the knowledge that no other harsher punishment can be meted out to them. In additional to this, a criminal might escape out of prison and there is a probability that they will end up committing crimes. For instance, Dawud Mu’Min escaped from prison and committed murder by slaughtering other two victims hence it was important to pass a death penalty to such a person. As we have seen most criminal do not fear life imprisonment and thus why they end up committing other crimes. Hence the death penalty supportes advocate that the criminal should face capital punishment so as to avoid law breaking and to teach other people in the society a lesson.
Any sentence that does not punish the criminal as per the crime committed encourages more crime, the law breaker are suppose to learn from the sentence passed on their fellow criminals. The possible crime is prevented when the existing criminal justice system and the government ensure that the rule and regulation are set and the citizen adheres to them. Harsh punishment should be applied to those people who commit crime in the society to ensure that law and order are followed (Pojman 99). Besides, the families of the victim may not feel whether justice has been passed to their loved ones when less punishment is imposed on the criminals (Banner 214). Hence application of death penalty is essential to some extent. Statistics indicates that for every death penalty there is always a consequent reduction of eighteen murders of crimes committed.
In my opinion, both sides of the debate have a valid argument. For one, the supporter suggests most criminal return to their criminal life after their sentence ends or while in jail. Secondly, capital punishment seems to be the only reliable method of reducing the criminal activity in the society (Baird 765). As we have seen death penalty is imposed on a person who has committed murder or a terrorism action. For a terrorist, whether in prison or out of jail they will end up getting supporters and hence they maintain their heroism. Thus, why the supporter of capital punishment suggests that criminal should be sentenced on the latter to discourage their followers.
Capital punishment is not an essential way of dealing with criminal; this is because no one should say when ones life begin or end. The best way is to look for a best way to punish an offender and rehabilitates them so that they do not repeat the same crime in future. The judicial systems are supposed to be well acquitted in understanding human behavior and look for the best measure to apply incase of a negative behavior (Banner 234). The abolitionists argue against the death penalty by advocating for an alternative form of punishment such as no option of parole for rehabilitation of negative behavior. The justice system should ensure that all the relevant information that proves that one is innocent is presented before the sentencing to ensure that an innocent human is not sentenced to death (Nancy 123). Relevant punishment should be imposed on a person who commits a crime to ensure that crime is not repeated again. Capital punishment should be abolished since a lot of murder cases are always associated with the latter. In addition, death penalties are very expensive to incur as compared to other forms of trial due to their many proceedings. On the other hand, a death penalty may de imposed to an innocent person and hence it is difficult to reverse life (Shin 98). Besides, people who commit murder are always under psychological torture and hence the right to counseling should be provided.
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