The Death Penalty 2

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The Death Penalty–For It Essay, Research Paper The Death Penalty Putting to death people judged to have committed certain extremely heinous crimes is a practice of ancient standing, but in the United States in the latter half of the twentieth century, it has become a very controversial issue. Changing views on this difficult issue led the supreme Court to abolish capital punishment in 1972 but later to uphold it in 1977, with certain conditions. Indeed, restoring capital punishment is the will of the people, yet many voices are raised against it. Heated public debate centers on questions of deterrence, public safety, sentencing equity, and the execution of innocents, among others. I have listened and read the arguments opposing the death penalty and I find that they are not

at all convincing. Here’s why: The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: One argument states that the death penalty does not deter murder. Dismissing capital punishment on that basis requires us to eliminate all prisons as well because they do not seem to be any more effective in the deterrence of crime. Others say that states which do have the death penalty have higher crime rates than those that don’t, that a more severe punishment only inspires more severe crimes. I must point out that every state in the union is different. These differences include the populations, number of cities, and yes, the crime rates. Strongly urbanized states are more likely to have higher crime rates than states that are more rural, such as those that lack capital punishment. The states that

have capital punishment have it because of their high crime rate, not the other way around. In 1985, a study was published by economist Stephen K. Layson at the University of North Carolina that showed that every execution of a murderer deters, on average, 18 murders. The study also showed that raising the number of death sentences by one percent would prevent 105 murders. However, only 38 percent of all murder cases result in a death sentence, and of those, only 0.1 percent are actually executed. During the temporary suspension on capital punishment from 1972-1976, researchers gathered murder statistics across the country. Researcher Karl Spence of Texas A&M University came up with these statistics, in 1960, there were 56 executions in the USA and 9,140 murders. By 1964,

when there were only 15 executions, the number of murders had risen to 9,250. In 1969, there were no executions and 14,590 murders, and 1975, after six more years without executions, 20,510 murders occurred. So the number of murders grew as the number of executions shrank. The figures are there but abolitionists have chosen to ignore them. And more recently, there have been 56 executions in the USA in 1995, more in one year since executions resumed in 1976, and there has been a 12 percent drop in the murder rate nationwide. And JFA (Justice for All) reports that in Texas, the highest murder rate in Houston (Harris County) occurred in 1981 with 701 murders. Since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1982, Harris County has executed more murderers than any other city or state in

the union and has seen the greatest reduction in murder from 701 in 1982 down to 261 in 1996 – a 63% reduction, representing a 270% differential! Abolitionists will claim that most studies show that the death penalty has no effect on the murder rate at all. But that’s only because those studies have been focused on inconsistent executions. Capital punishment, like all other applications, must be used consistently in order to be effective. However, the death penalty hasn’t been used consistently in the USA for decades, so abolitionists have been able to establish the delusion that it doesn’t deter at all to rationalize their fallacious arguments. But the evidence shows that whenever capital punishment is applied consistently or against a small murder rate it has always