Capital punishment is broken. The death penalty has been accused of being discriminative, discerning, and selective. It has been statistically proven that this system is racially biased; claims innocent lives, and disregards mental illness. Benjamin Franklin once said, “it is better that one hundred guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffers.” The following addresses the pros and cons of the death penalty, how effective it is, and why it should be implemented across the all of the United States.
The purpose of the death penalty is to punish a crime, prevent the criminal from repeating the act, and to discourage future potential criminals. Capital punishment is among the oldest forms of criminal punishments, dating back to nearly 2000 years B.C. There are four key points to the reasoning of the death penalty: Intimidation, deterrence, restitution, and retribution.
Intimidation refers to the safety of the peers in which a criminal is exposed to. An incarcerated criminal cannot harm the safety of the public but can harm the safety of fellow inmates. An executed felon cannot commit a crime ever again. The equal punishment to the death penalty is life in prison without parole. When a citizen is stripped away of their rights and told they will spend the rest of their life in a prison, there is nothing to live for, nothing to look forward to, and nothing to keep the criminal from offending the law again. Execution over incarceration guarantees that this troubled human being will never intimidate or harm a citizen, prison guard, or prison inmate.
Deterrence is a technique applied to knowledgeable people. Deterrence is targeted towards people who use logic in their daily lives. The threat of extreme punishment deters people from taking part in illegal activities. Deterrence is not the most effective part of capital punishment though. Knowledgeable people who think about their actions rarely engage in illegal activity. Deterrence is a factor, but it is not the factor. We should not, however, accept capital punishment based on the likelihood that it might discourage wrongdoing.
Restitution restores compensation to the affected victim and family. The criminal is required to take some action to help return the victim to the status quo. If a criminal murders a person or a group of people, the family of the effected is entitled to some restitution from the criminal, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
Retribution bounces off of the previous point, restitution. If a criminal harmed society, society is entitled to harm the criminal. There is a slight, yet morbid, value to the death penalty. No one sane will admit that sometimes the death of one person can bring joy to another, yet when Timothy McVeigh was executed though lethal injection, a small state of bliss spread across America. McVeigh brought up a valid point when he called the death penalty, “state-assisted suicide.” Throughout our history, people have rejoiced...