For years now the Americans have debated over the issue of capital punishment. Many people believe that it no longer serves out its intended purpose of deterring crime. Others believe that the death penalty is an inhumane act of violence and that it should be banished from the justice system all together. The thought of playing God also is another aspect of the situation. Despite these allegations however, the facts still remain. The death penalty deters crime, stops repeat offenders, and gives Americans a real sense that justice has been served, and should therefore remain legal and in practice.
Despite recent ridiculing of capital punishment, the sentence has popular and political support. A poll in a 1997 Time magazine stated that seventy-four percent of those surveyed were in favor of the death penalty (Schonebaum 6). Many of these supporters believe that capital punishment deters crime. Deterrence is the idea that the threat of punishment must be severe enough to counter the pleasures that the criminal would receive from committing the crime (Harries 11). Even if a person gathers that capital punishment does in fact deter crime, they are left pondering if the death penalty is a more effective deterrent than life imprisonment.
The easiest way to consider capital punishment as a more effective deterrent than life imprisonment would be to use common sense. "People fear death more than life in prison" (Schonebaum 8). Once a criminal is sentenced to death, they go through numerous appeals in order to try and reduce their sentence down to life imprisonment. This would lead a person to believe that they fear the death sentence more than the life sentence. Generally speaking, the thing that people fear the most deters the most. The more deterrent effect this nation wants to have with the death penalty depends on the frequency of its executions. In order to experience a more dramatic effect in the deterrence of major crime, America needs to step up executions across the entire nation (Harries 38). Those who enforce the law must realize this fact. If they fail to increase actual executions rather than just handing out death sentences, the death penalty will be unable to fulfill its primary function as a murder deterrent.
The death penalty also needs to become a more streamlined process. Currently, its takes an average of ten years for an actual death sentence to be carried out (Schonebaum 8). With all these appeals, the death sentence becomes very costly and loses its initial impact on the public. If a person knows that if they murder someone they will receive the death penalty, this person will more than likely not carry out the crime (Brinker 4). But with this current system of capital punishment, a criminal can find too many loop holes to avoid execution. They are now willing to take a chance on death because they no longer fear the consequences. If the United States government would revise...