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The Death Penalty Just Punishment For Murder

1148 words - 5 pages

The Death Penalty - Just Punishment for Murder
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The death penalty has always been and continues to be a very controversial issue. People on both sides of the issue argue endlessly to gain further support for their movements. While opponents of capital punishment are quick to point out that the United States remains one of the few Western countries that continue to support the death penalty, Americans are also more likely to encounter violent crime than citizens of other countries (Brownlee 31). Justice mandates that criminals receive what they deserve. The punishment must fit the crime. If a burglar deserves imprisonment, then a murderer deserves death (Winters 168). The death penalty is necessary and the only punishment suitable for those convicted of capital offenses. Seventy-five percent of Americans support the death penalty, according to Turner, because it provides a deterrent to some would-be murderers and it also provides for moral and legal justice (83). "Deterrence is a theory: It asks what the effects are of a punishment (does it reduce the crime rate?) and makes testable predictions (punishment reduces the crime rate compared to what it would be without the credible threat of punishment)", (Van Den Haag 29). The deterrent effect of any punishment depends on how quickly the punishment is applied (Workshop 16). Executions are so rare and delayed for so long in comparison th the number of capitol offenses committed that statistical correlations cannot be expected (Winters 104). The number of potential murders that are deterred by the threat of a death penalty may never be known, just as it may never be known how many lives are saved with it. However, it is known that the death penalty does definitely deter those who are executed. Life in prison without the possibility of parole is the alternative to execution presented by those that consider words to be equal to reality. Nothing prevents the people sentenced in this way from being paroled under later laws or later court rulings. Furthermore, nothing prevents them from escaping or killing again while in prison. After all, if they have already received the maximum sentence available, they have nothing to lose. For example, in 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court banished the death penalty. Like other states, Texas commuted all death sentences to life imprisonment. After being released into the general prison population, according to Winters: Twelve of the forty-seven prisoners that received commuted sentences were responsible for twenty-one serious violent offenses against other inmates and prison staff. One of the commuted death row prisoners killed another inmate and another one killed a girl within one year of his release on parole. (21) This does not mean that every death row inmate would kill again if released, but they do tend to be repeat offenders. Winters states "Over forty percent of the persons on death row in 1992 were on probation, parole, or pretrial...

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