Essay, Research Paper: Death Penalty

Legal Issues

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The United states is the only western democracy that still practices capital
punishment. There have been over 4050 executions since 1930. In 1994 alone,
there were 257 executions in the United States. People who believe in capital
punishment say that this dehumanizing process deters crime. This is false
because the death penalty has been proven NOT to deter crime. In fact, during
the 1980s, states practicing the death penalty averaged an annual rate of 7.5
criminal homicides per 100,000, while abolition states averaged a rate of 7.4
per 100,000. That means murder was actually MORE common in states that use the
death penalty. Criminals irrationally perform crimes, therefore, life
imprisonment ought to deter a rational person itself. Besides, no criminal
commits a crime if he believes he will be caught. The death penalty is morally
incorrect. Why do governments kill people to show other people that killing is
wrong? Would society allow rape as the penalty for rape or the burning of
arsonistsí homes as the penalty for arson. Every time we execute someone, we
sink to the same level as the common killer. What is the difference between the
state killing and an individual killing? The end result is the more
dead body, one more set of grieving parents, and one more cemetery slot. Every
time we execute someone, we are desensitizing the value of human life. The death
penalty is not now, nor has it ever been a more economical alternative to life
imprisonment. A study by the New York State Defenders Association showed that
the cost of a capital trial ALONE is more than double the cost of life
imprisonment. They also concluded that a death penalty case costs approximately
42 percent more than a case resulting in a non-death sentence. Since 1976 the
United States has spent 700 million dollars in it. Another reason to get rid of
the death penalty is the possibility of error. Sometimes a person might be put
to death who is innocent. At least 23 people have been executed who did not
commit the crime they were accused of. And that is only those that we know of.
When we execute an innocent person, the real killer is still on the streets,
ready to victimize someone else. If the innocent person is executed then the
case is closed forever. Or, at least until someone else gets killed by the real
perpetrator. If the death penalty is not an effective way to deter crime, then
what is? The only way is to prevent it from happening rather that enforce harsh
punishment to scare off potential crimes. New York lowered crime rates by
putting more police officers on the street, not by longer jail terms or death
penalty. This was effective because if you think about it, if I was to rob a
store, first I would look to see if any police officers were around. If I would
see one riding around the block and another patrolling the streets, I would
think twice about it. Also, the availability of handguns plays a major role in
murder rates. It is a lot easier to kill someone by putting one bullet in their
head rather than stabbing or strangling someone. If we decrease the availability
of handguns then I guarantee there will be less murders. There are many ways to
do it, but it is definitely time to, once and for all, EXECUTE the death
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