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Death Penalty Debate Essay

1887 words - 8 pages

Why is the death penalty still allowed throughout much of the U.S.? The process of prosecuting and convicting an individual is astronomical, and there is great debate as to whether the death penalty actually works as a deterrent. Retribution and biasness have contributed too many that have received this sentence, considering all this, life imprisonment is best for all, realistically, and most effective. The advantages of life imprisonment far more outweigh the death sentence.

Death Penalty
America has always had a history of using the death penalty, but no subject has received greater debate. There are many reasons why the death penalty should not be used in America, first there is not data that shows that the death penalty acts as deterrence, second the costs of imposing the death penalty is astronomical, third, many see the death penalty as a form of retribution, and finally, the extensive appeals through the court. Although, it has since been reversed, Furman v. Georgia has shown that there are many cases in which there is a question as to how the death penalty is imposed, and can be considered Cruel and Unusual. (NAKELL, 1978)
Many believe that the death penalty is a deterrence, however many studies on deterrence and the death penalty do not support this idea, in fact the murder rates in states that do not have the death penalty is consistently lower than in the states with the death penalty. Studies have also shown that of the 16,503 homicides in 2003, only 144 were sentenced to death, and of the 3374 inmates on death row only 65 were executed. When criminals commit crimes such as murder, the threat of execution does not enter their minds, especially those who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the end the death penalty is no more a deterrence than life without parole. However, once criminals are in prison serving a life sentence, they often settle into a routine and are less of a threat to commit violence than other prisoners, thus the safety of society can still be assured without using the death penalty. (NAKELL, 1978)
The death penalty is much more expensive than life imprisonment without parole. Capital trails are longer and more expensive at every step than other murder trials. Capital cases tend to last several years and can consist of pretrial motions, expert witness investigations, jury selection, and the necessity for two trials; one on guilt and the other on sentencing. Once an individual is sentenced to death, the case automatically gets appealed to the state, then to the Court of Appeals and finally to the Supreme Court. Guilty pleas in capital punishment cases are almost unheard of, plus many of these trials result in life sentences anyway, so the state in which the trial is held ends up paying for the costs of the capital case. The extreme costs of capital punishment are actually making America less safe because financial and legal resources are being diverted from effective crime fighting. When a...

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