Capital Punishment Essay

2923 words - 12 pages

Frucci 1Jennifer FrucciFS 141Dr. BakerDecember 10, 2011Capital Punishment:Is the Death Penalty an Ethical Way to Deter Crime?The debate over the death penalty and if it is morally acceptable to execute someone may be as old as the death penalty itself. Ethics play a huge role in the capital punishment argument and the points debated have not changed much throughout its history. There are both the unethical and ethical sides of the argument but there is also the thought that reforming the death penalty will make it an ethical crime deterrent which would be most beneficial for the United States. Crime is a part of society and many people agree something must be done about it, however the method in which it is handled is something many people question. There are many ethical issues involved when dealing with the death penalty including the moral issues of punishment and also if it is right to deny someone the right of life. The purpose of the criminal justice system is to shelter the rights of liberty, property and most importantly, the life of all people. To do this, the punishment for crimes must be severe enough to discourage people to commit them. The criminal justice system is often put down by citizens for how they handle criminals and the punishments that they are given. The death penalty has become a very controversial issue across the world and many debates bring up the questions of deterrence, public safety, sentencing costs, the execution of innocents, and many others. There are several different topics to look at when talking about capital punishment, however, the main question here is whether or not the death penalty is an ethical way to deter crime?The United States is still one country of very few that uses the death penalty in some crimes; however, it has become an extremely rare form of punishment for multiple reasons. The main reason is many people believe it is not right to deny one the right to life and along with that many question if it is okay for someone to be executed for the anticipated future crimes committed by other criminals. Several people find it wrong to use the death penalty to deter crime because it has not been proven as an effective crime deterrent. The United Nations conducted a survey to conclude the relationship between homicide rates and capital punishment in 1996. This survey established:"...research has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have a greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment. Such proof is unlikely to be forthcoming. The evidence as a whole still gives no positive support to the deterrent hypothesis. The key to real and true deterrence is to increase the likelihood of detection, arrest and conviction. The death penalty is a harsh punishment, but it is not harsh on crime" (BBC).The fact that there is no scientific conclusion whether or not the death penalty does deter crime makes people question why the United States keeps the death penalty when many other nations have put an...

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