The Death Penalty Essay

754 words - 3 pages

Capital punishment has been a cause for debate for many years, and people continue to disagree on the topic. There are many reasons why the death penalty should be used, but the three most important are that it deters potential murderers from committing crimes, it saves our government money in the long run, and most importantly, it guarantees that these convicted murderers will not kill again. Why does the United States need capital punishment? The main purpose of the death penalty is to protect the rights of other Americans to live. In his book, The Law, Federic Bastiat writes, “humans have inalienable rights that existed outside of and before government. These rights are life, liberty, and property. The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect these rights. When one person infringes on another’s rights, he must be punished. To do this, the punishment must be harsh enough to deter potential criminals”(Bastiat). This punishment is of the harshest form, but it is necessary to maintain order. Is capital punishment in fact a deterrent? Studies show that it most definitely is. In fact, of the fourteen states that have at one time or another abolished the death penalty, murder has increased by seven percent. Likewise, a study by Stephen K. Layton at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed that each execution in the United States deters an average of eighteen murders(Lowe). If the death penalty were in-acted in a swifter manner, it would most likely deter even better. The average amount of time spent on death row is ten years! John McAdams, a professor of Political Science at Marquette University sums it up best: “If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and in so doing would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call”(Pro-death penalty.com). The death penalty also saves the government money in the long run. A trial for a capital case (which is a case of first-degree murder) is already time consuming and expensive. This type of case usually takes around six weeks and constitutes between 3,000 and 5,000 pages of court...

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