The death penalty has been an issue of debate for several years. Whether or not we should murder murderers and basically commit the same crime that they are being killed for committing. People against the death penalty say that we should not use it because of that very reason. They also make claims that innocent people who were wrongly convicted could be killed. Other claims include it not working as a deterrent, it being morally wrong, and that it discriminates.
Some even claim that it is cruel and unusual punishment. I would like to shed light on the issue and inform everyone as to why we should keep the death penalty and possibly even use it more than we do now.
First of all, it is hard for anyone to argue that we already use the death penalty too much because facts say that we hardly use it at all. Since 1967, there have been one execution for every 1,600 murders. There have been approximately 560,000 murders and 358 executions between 1967 and 1996(UCR and BJS).
Opponents of the death penalty compare execution and murder.
They make the claim that if two acts have the same ending or result, then those two acts are morally equivalent. If we used this same perspective for other crimes, then our whole system would not work. For example, is the legal taking of property to satisfy a debt the same as auto theft? They both result in the loss of property. Is kidnapping and legal incarceration the same? They both involve imprisonment against ones will. Obviously, these opponents have a flawed logic and therefore, if two acts end in the same result, they are not necessarily morally equivalent.
Great effort has been made in our criminal justice system in pretrial, trial, appeals, writ and clemency procedures to minimize the chance of and innocent person being convicted and sentenced to death.
Since 1973, legal protections have been so great that 37 percent of all death row cases have been overturned for due process reasons or commuted. Inmates are six times more likely to get off death row by appeals than by execution.
The argument that murderers are the least likely of all criminals to repeat their crime is not only irrelevant, but also increasingly false. Six percent of young adults paroled in 1978 after having been convicted of murder were arrested for murder again within six years of release (Recidivism of Young Parolees). Of the roughly 52,000 state prison inmates serving time for murder in 1984, an estimated 810 had previously been convicted of murder and had killed 821 persons following their previous murder convictions. Executing each of these inmates would have saved 821 lives.
For a criminal justice system to have credibility and deterrent value, two factors are required. First, a high rate of arrest must exist. Second, punishment, which reflects the severity of the crime, the criminals record, and the demand for justice, must also exist. The U.S. system has neither.
Of the 10.3 million violent crimes in 1993, only 100,000 of those victimizations, or 1 percent, resulted in an actual jail sentence.
With no death penalty and only life without parole, there is no deterrent for life without parole inmates killing others while in prison of after escape. There is actually a positive incentive to murder if a criminal has committed a life without parole offense and had not yet been captured. Currently, there are a number of inmates who have killed numerous people in prison or after escape. Their punishment could not be increased because there is no death penalty in those states.
Therefore, they will never be punished for those crimes. This is absolutely absurd and should never be tolerated in a criminal .