Paper On Why The Death Penalty Shouldn't Be Used

1360 words - 5 pages

Against The Death PenaltyThose who favor the death penalty would argue that violent criminals whom have committed violent crimes deserve to be put to death and that they should die for their crimes. However, with some research one can see that putting criminals to death might not be the best solution after all. The death penalty has been a hot topic of debate for years now. It seems that everyone has an opinion on it one way or another. Some of these include: the death penalty is not an effective deterrent, it is applied unfairly to minorities, several innocent people have been on death row and later found to be innocent and set free, and the death penalty, in most cases, costs more than life in prison. Advocates of the death penalty argue that it is a good form of punishment because it shows potential criminals that committing a crime can bring about dire consequences. At first this seems like a reasonable argument and it seems to make sense, but there is plenty of evidence that suggests otherwise. One reason that the death penalty is not a deterrent, is that most murders are committed in the heat of the moment, out of anger or other strong emotions, according to Time magazine in a article called," Must this man Die?" In fact, premeditated murders make up a very small part of total murders committed; less than 10 percent. Obviously someone who kills another person in a fit of rage is not thinking about the consequences at the time. Someone who kills another person like this is not going to be deterred by the death penalty. Further evidence that proves the death penalty is not a deterrent, is the fact that several states with the death penalty have higher homicide rates than those states without a death penalty. For example in 1996, in Missouri which is a death penalty state, had a rate of murders three times as high per capita as Iowa a non-death penalty state. It is not just Iowa with lower rates either; 10 out of the 12 states without the death penalty have lower homicide rates than the national average, according to the Statistical Abstract of the United States in 1997,17th edition. The reason that these states have lower rates goes back to the fact that most crimes are committed in a fit of anger, and that the consequences do not enter the criminal's mind while they are committing the crime. Knowing this, one can see that the death penalty is not a deterrent and has no effect on which states would have a lower murder rate. It is obvious that the death penalty does not do much as a deterrent if states that do not have it have a lower homicide rate than those that do. A scary thought to consider, is the number of people that have been on death row and been later set free. To date there have been 87 inmates freed after DNA testing proved them to be completely innocent of the crime for which they were convicted. This is an astounding number of people to be sitting on death row when they are completely innocent. If this many...

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