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The Effects Of The Death Penalty

1141 words - 5 pages

The Effects of the Death Penalty

The effects of the death penalty can be divided into three main
groups: public safety, deterrence, and retribution. The death penalty
is the judicially ordered execution of a prisoner as a punishment for
a serious crime, most often first-degree murder. Prisoners who have
been sentenced to death are usually kept separate from other prisoners
pending their execution. However, isolation and eventually, the death
of a convicted inmate, play an important role on public safety,
deterrence, and retribution in the future.

The principle of deterrence is based on the idea that the threat of
punishment must be harsh enough to counter the benefits or pleasures
that the criminal would receive from the illegal act. In addition, the
punishment must be administered swiftly so that potential criminals
will see a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the two. The
most convincing argument for the deterrent effect of the death penalty
comes from the commonsense belief that people fear death more than
life in prison. "Once in prison, virtually all convicted murderers
seek to avoid execution by appealing to reduce their sentence to 'life
in prison' (Bender)." For example, in the Washington Post, a witness
to a murder had been executed hours after testifying, so a second
witness to the same murder, Arlin Budoo, decided he'd rather face life
imprisonment for contempt of court rather than the strong possibility
of death. His refusal forced the U.S. attorney's office to strike a
plea bargain with the defendant and drop first- degree murder charges,
at least temporarily, for a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Samuel Hand's opinion is that "the punishment of death is
unquestionably the most powerful deterrent, the most effective
preventative that can be applied. Human nature teaches this fact. An
instinct that outruns all reasoning, a dreadful horror that overcomes
all other sentiments, works in us all when we contemplate it (Hand)."
The death penalty is an essential tool to fight and deter crime.
Capital punishment deters crime by causing potential murderers to fear
arrest and conviction, and by preventing convicted murderers from
killing again.

Retribution is a way of preventing future crimes, and capital
punishment is a secure way safeguard against repeat offenders. "Crime
indicates a diseased mind in the same manner that sickness and pain do
a diseased body," the Iowa Supreme Court's chief justice said. "And as
in the one case we provide hospitals for the treatment of severe and
contagious diseases, so in the other, prisons and asylums should be
provided for similar reasons." There is something in human nature that
requires a life for a life. Two years after the state abolished the
death penalty, a convict was lynched in Janesville, Wisconsin. A
...

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