The Death Penalty 8 Essay Research Paper

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The Death Penalty 8 Essay, Research Paper The Death Penalty The death penalty has always been and continues to be a very controversial issue. People on both sides of the issue argue endlessly to gain further support for their movements. While opponents of capital punishment are quick to point out that the United States remains one of the few Western countries that continues to support the death penalty, Americans are also more likely to encounter violent crime than citizens of other countries (Brownlee 31). Justice mandates that criminals receive what they deserve . The punishment must fit the crime. If a buglar deserves imprisonment, then a murderer deserves death (Winters 168). The death penalty is necessary and the only punishment suitable for those convicted of capital

offenses. Seventy-five percent of Americans support the death penalty, according to Turner, because it provides a deterrent to some would-be murderers and it also provides for moral and legal justice (83). “Deterrence is a theory: It asks what the effects are of a punishment (does it reduce the crime rate?) and makes testable predictions (punishment reduces the crime rate compared to what it would be without the credible threat of punishment)”, (Van Den Haag 29). The detterent effect of any punishment depends on how quicklythe punishment is applied ( Worsnop 16). Exections are so rare and delayed for so long in comparison th the number of capitol offeses committed that statistical correlations cannot be expected (Winters 104). The number of potential murders that are deterred

by the threat of a death penalty may never be known, just as it may never be known how many lives are saved with it. However, it is known that the death penalty does definately deter those who are executed. Life in prision without the possibility of parole is the alternative to execution presented by those that consider words to be equal to reality. Nothing prevents the people sentenced in this way from being paroled under later laws or later court rulings. Futhermore, nothing prevents them from escaping or killing again while in prison. After all, if they have already recieved the maximum sentence available, they have nothing to lose. For example, in 1972 the U.S. Surpreme Court banished the death penalty. like other states, Texas commuted all death sentences to life

imprisionment. After being released into the general prison populaton, according to Winters: Twelve of the forty-seven prisoners that recieved commuted sentences were responsible for twenty-one serious violent offenses aainst other inmates and prison staff. One of the commuted death row prisoners killed another inmate and another one killed a girl within one year of his release on parole.(21) This does not mean that every death row inmate would kill again if realeased, but they do tend to be repeat offenders. Winters states “Over forty percent of the persond on death row in 1992 were on probation, parole, or pretrail release at the time that they murdered” (107). Society has a right and a duty to demand a terrible punishment for a terrible crime. According to Walter Burns, an

eloquent defender of the death penalty, execution is the only punishment that can remind people of the moral order that human beings alone live by (qtd in Hertzburg 4). Van Den Haag states that the desire to see crime punished is felt because the criminal gratifies his desires by means that the noncriminal has restrained from using. The punishment of the criminal is needed to justify the restraint of the noncriminal (30). Society has a moral obligation to see that civil government punishes all criminals, which includes enforcing capital punishment. Executing capital offenders helps to balance the scales of moral justice. The death penalty is religiously permissible according to certain passages in the Old Testament, particularly in the “eye for an eye” teaching advocated in