The Death Penalty Essay

920 words - 4 pages ✓ Expert Reviewed

The death penalty continues to be an issue of controversy and is an issue that will be debated in the United States for many years to come. According to Hugo A. Bedau, the writer of “The Death Penalty in America”, capital punishment is the lawful infliction of the death penalty. The death penalty has been used since ancient times for a variety of offenses. The Bible says that death should be done to anyone who commits murder, larceny, rapes, and burglary. It appears that public debate on the death penalty has changed over the years and is still changing, but there are still some out there who are for the death penalty and will continue to believe that it’s a good punishment. I always hear a lot of people say “an eye for an eye.” Most people feel strongly that if a criminal took the life of another, their’s should be taken away as well, and I don’t see how the death penalty could deter anyone from committing crimes if your going to do the crime then at that moment your not thinking about being on death role. I don’t think they should be put to death they should just sit in a cell for the rest of their life and think about how they destroy other families. A change in views and attitudes about the death penalty are likely attributed to results from social science research. The changes suggest a gradual movement toward the eventual abolition of capital punishment in America (Radelet and Borg, 2000).
During the 1970s, the top argument in favor of the death penalty was general deterrence. This argument suggests that we must punish offenders to discourage others from committing similar offenses; we punish past offenders to send a message to potential offenders. In a broad sense, the deterrent effect of punishment is thought to be a function of three main elements: certainty, celerity, and severity. People don’t violate laws if they are certain that they will be caught and punished. Celerity refers to the elapsed time between the commission of an offense and the administration of punishment. In theory, the more quickly a punishment is carried out, the greater its deterrent effect, and last the deterrent effect of a punishment is a function of its severity. However, over the last two decades more and more scholars and citizens have realized that the deterrent effect of a punishment is not a consistent direct effect of its severity-after a while, increases in the severity of a punishment no longer add to its deterrent benefits. In fact, increases in a punishment's severity have decreasing incremental deterrent effects, so that eventually any increase in severity, will no longer matter (Radelet and Borg, 2000).
Scores of researchers, including such eminent criminologists as Edward Sutherland and Thorsten Sellin, have examined the possibility that the death penalty has a greater deterrent effect on homicide rates than long-term. While some econometric studies have claimed to find deterrent effects; these studies have...

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