Achieving Nothing Except Revenge: Research Shows That Capital Punishment Is Unsuitable For Civilized Nations

1552 words - 6 pages

In Jamestown Colony, Virginia, in 1608, the first execution in America took place (Urbina 8). Since then, the debate over capital punishment has been never-ending, capturing the attention of citizens of all types. Americans have argued relentlessly over many issues that the death penalty brings to politics, economics, and moral values. In the article titled “Does Death Penalty Save Lives? A New Debate,” Adam Liptak explores both sides of the debate, highlighting the benefits that the death penalty provides to society. He states that the death penalty deters murders and accepts that innocent men might become casualties in the process. However, other experts disagree with Liptak. Opposing research shows that the death penalty does not deter murders and unjustly executes the innocent, making capital punishment unsuitable for a civilized nation.
Some experts, including H.Naci Mocan, Gary Becker, and Cass R. Sunstein, firmly believe that the death penalty has a distinct positive influence on the deterrence of murders (Liptak A1). Although they all agree with that statement, they provide different statistics on the number of murders capital punishment deters, making their work seem inaccurate and sloppy. While Mocan found that each execution saves five lives, other research shows that up to 18 lives may in fact be saved (Liptak A1). That is a difference of thirteen lives, or approximately seventy two percent, which is a huge discrepancy. In addition, other experts disagree totally with the fact that the death penalty deters. Researchers at the University of Florida surveyed sixty seven current and former presidents of the top three criminology organizations and found a result extremely contradictory to the research of Mocan and the others (RESEARCH: Death Penalty Doesn’t Deter Violence… 3A). The results showed that ninety percent of the surveyed presidents thought that executing people to deter crime was a waste of both money and time (RESEARCH: Death Penalty Doesn’t Deter Violence… 3A). If ninety percent of the top three criminology organization’s presidents agreed that the death penalty is a waste of time, one could make an assumption that the other experts conducted surveys and polls on citizens that were uneducated on the different aspects of the death penalty. To further support the researchers at the University of Florida, Michael Radelet, the chairperson of the university’s sociology department and an expert on the death penalty, states that, “Among the experts, there is overwhelming consensus that the death penalty never has been, is not, and never could be a deterrent to homicide over and above long imprisonment.”(RESEARCH: Death Penalty Doesn’t Deter Violence… 3A). This sound agreement of experts further goes on to prove Sunstein and Mocan wrong. In addition, a survey found that two thirds of police chiefs did not believe that the death penalty had a deterrent effect, because few criminals thoroughly think through the consequences of a...

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