An Analysis Of The Death Penalty Controversy In America

1848 words - 7 pages

Capital punishment, the lawful taking of a person's life after conviction of a crime, is a highly controversial issue. It has raised difficult ethical, practical, and legal debates. In most of the industrialized world, the death penalty is outlawed and is no longer an issue of concern. However, it is still used in the United States. At present, the U.S. government and 38 states allow the death penalty. Methods of execution include lethal injection, electrocution, the gas chamber, hanging, and firing squad (McCuen 13). The capital punishment debate in the United States has raged for almost four hundred years. Supporters of the death penalty often cite its roles as necessary retribution and a deterrent of crime. Opponents respond by pointing out discrepancies in their arguments, the possibility of executing an innocent person, and claiming it defies the United States Constitution.Does capital punishment deter crime?Deterrence is the most frequently made and most widely accepted argument in favor of capital punishment. Deterrence is the idea that punishments for criminals imposed by society discourages other criminals from doing the same. Supporters of the death penalty contest that fear of death deters people from committing serious crimes; the average person will think twice before running the risk of a possible execution. Until the 1970s, no statistical study supported this theory. Isaac Ehrlich published a study in 1975 that made a case for deterrence. His sophisticated model looked at many different variables such as arrest rate in murder cases, conviction rate of murder arrests, the rate of labor force participation, the unemployment rate, per capita income, and also the murder rate and the number of executions (Hanks 81). Based on his analysis, Ehrlich concluded that an additional execution per year may have resulted in seven or eight fewer murders. When the study was released, it came under immediate attack. It was found that Ehrlich's statistics were only true when the period 1962-1969 was included, a time when very few executions were carried out. When the study was conducted only during the years of 1933-1961, no deterrent effect was found. Many such studies have been conducted since, and there has been no conclusive evidence that suggests executing criminals deters crime (Hanks 82). More statistics show that the murder rate is lower in states that do not advocate the death penalty compared to ones that do. Opponents of the death penalty have also pointed out that the murder rate is overwhelmingly higher in the United States than in other countries where capital punishment does not exist. Retentionists say the argument that the average person will think twice before running the risk of a possible execution cannot be applied to criminals, because a criminal is not an average person. Criminals obviously display irrational behavior, and therefore cannot be put in a class with "average" individuals.However, many point out that it deters the...

Find Another Essay On An Analysis of the Death Penalty Controversy in America

America Needs the Death Penalty Essay

839 words - 3 pages , and a good percent will commit crime again or even murder, would you want that to happen? The amount of money spent on lethal injection is about $90 dollars, but it can cost millions to put someone in death row. On the other hand, the government spends about $ 1.5 million for a life term (Prison Facts), but the possibility of an escape is always obtainable. Death penalty is part of our system and is not going away anytime soon. Would you have the

The Death Penalty Should be Abolished in America

1227 words - 5 pages permanent. Beccaria’s essay acted as the chief catalyst behind the widespread abolition movement against the death penalty. Currently, the debate over capital punishment rages on with fervor on both ends. Those in favor of capital punishment find it necessary in deterring future murders, punishing murders, and bringing closure to victims. Although their argument seems of sound mind however, after close analysis of history and statistical data, the

The Death Penalty in America: Who is More Apt To Support It

2431 words - 10 pages country, which makes it an incredibly important discussion to have within communities. I believe that there may be specific factors involved in an individual's life that either increases or decreases their perspective on the topic. In particular, prior research has found correlations between support for the death penalty, and various aspects of an individual's social environment.In a study conducted using the general social survey data from 1972

America Needs a Tougher Death Penalty

1067 words - 4 pages America Needs a Tougher Death Penalty   Pain. Anger. Frustration. Hatred. These feeble words do not describe the anguish felt by the families of murder victims. Ted Bundy was responsible for the deaths of more than 50 young women across the United States.(Lamar 34) Bundy was finally sentenced to death by the state of Florida in 1978 for the kidnapping and brutal murder of a 12 year old girl and the deaths of 2 Florida State sorority

Penalty of Death-Analysis

785 words - 3 pages is in effect -States that this is only one of at least a half dozen reasons why it is in effect.-Then reaches main argument: why the death penalty is effective -Saying it is commonly called revenge, he borrows a better word from Aristotle?catharsis -The meaning is stated in paragraph 3 as "a salubrious discharge of emotions" -Followed by an example: "A school boy, disliking his teacher, deposits a tack upon the pedagogical chair; the teacher jumps

An Eye for an Eye View of the Death Penalty

2170 words - 9 pages PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 1 An Eye for an Eye View of the Death PenaltyThere are thirty-eight states in the United States currently using the death penalty and twelve without this form of punishment. What does the death penalty accomplish? Does the death penalty really work? It does work, however, in a very inefficient manner. We will go through facts about the Texas Death Penalty, the process of the death penalty from the time of conviction to the

It is in Support of the Death Penalty. Its an unreaserched essay

706 words - 3 pages victims.This penalty is the most efficient to deal with cereal killers and mass murderers because the extent of the damage they have caused an innocent family is irreversible. The physiological stress is something many go through when they loose a loved one. A life sentence would only keep the lingering memory of the killer in the families. One may not understand why the death penalty could bring closure to a family but one cannot judge the way a

The Death Penalty is an Acceptable Form of Punishment

3297 words - 13 pages The Death Penalty is an Acceptable Form of Punishment On March 29, 1971, a thirty-seven-year-old male was convicted of killing seven people and suspected in killing another thirty-five. His methods of killing included gunshots, stabbing with forks, knives, or swords, dissecting, and battering with clubs. He showed no remorse for what he had done, but instead created a media circus in which he had a starring role (Blundell 124-30

Death Penalty in the USA

1315 words - 5 pages their misery. There are not that many people who want to be stuck in a small cell for the rest of their life where prison rape has become more common. By executing these prisoners, they won't have to suffer. Another reason the people who oppose the death penalty feel that it is unfair is that it denies the person the privilege to be retried if any new evidence comes up. On the average, an inmate in kept in prison 8 years before their death sentence

Constitutionality of the Death Penalty

1792 words - 8 pages could receive life in prison when another person committing an equal offence might receive capital punishment? Is it right for the United States to operate a system such as capital punishment? Does that follow the guidelines set out by our constitution or does it contradict? What would the forefathers of this nation say about the death penalty? Is the death penalty a form of cruel and unusual punishment? America has established themselves as somewhat

Abolition of The Death Penalty

1039 words - 4 pages toward the complete abolition of the inhumane act of capital punishment. Intense controversy over the legality of the death penalty in the United States has always been multi-faceted and emotionally charged. Constitutional lawyers insist the founding fathers made provision for the death penalty in the 5th amendment which guarantees “due process of law before a person can be deprived of life, liberty or property”, while ignoring the 8th amendment

Similar Essays

The Death Penalty In America Essay

2208 words - 9 pages violent crimes in the future. If their example can convince even one person to walk the straight and narrow, then I believe that the resources that we have spent to keep them alive are well worth it. Another problem with the death penalty is that all too often, an innocent man gets arrested and executed for a crime that they did not commit. Let me tell you a story, a story that managed to get my home state of Michigan to start mobilizing against the

The Controversy Surrounding The Use Of The Death Penalty

1193 words - 5 pages The Controversy Surrounding the Use of the Death Penalty In 1976, the death penalty was reinstated in the United States. Since then, the execution of criminals has been reactivated in state after state, using methods such as electrocution, lethal injection, and firing squads. These legal killings have been the center of an American debate that surfaced with the conviction and sentencing of Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing. I

The Death Penalty: Methods Of Execution In America

1929 words - 8 pages Crime in America is something that has been around for many decades. While a large number of crimes are considered minor, many more result in the serious injury or death of another human being. “When we think about crimes, we … normally focus on inherently wrongful acts that harm or threaten to harm persons or property” (Bibas 22). The death penalty, also called capital punishment, has been used as a means of punishing the most violent of

America Needs The Death Penalty Essay

1223 words - 5 pages In 1973 Author Shawcross was convicted of raping and murdering two children in upstate New York; however, after serving 15 years Shawcross was paroled in 1988. In a horrific 21-month killing spree, Shawcross took 11 more lives. That is 11 innocent people who would be alive today had justice been served (Pataki, Deterrent 2). With the topic of the death penalty comes a lot of controversy which is rooted from questions like: is the death