Is the Death Penalty Effective

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Updated: May 16, 2022
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This paper focuses on whether or not capital punishment is effective and righteous. This is to be done from a biblical perspective and a research perspective based on whether or not capital punishment deters crime. Based on the purpose of this paper the definition of Capital punishment “refers to the process of sentencing convicted offenders to death for the most serious crimes (capital crimes) and carrying out that sentence. The specific offenses and circumstances which determine if a crime (usually murder) is eligible for a death sentence.

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” (Capital Punishment Statistics)

The Lord used capital punishment when he used the flood to wipe out those who had sinned; only Noah and his family along with a pair of each animal survived; this was a form of capital punishment directly from the Lord. There are also other examples of capital punishment from the Bible. In Genesis 7 “The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.” For all of those the Lord did not find righteous like Noah and through Noah, his family, he essentially implemented capital punishment which is seen and written for in in Genesis 17 through 23 “For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.

20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.” (Genesis 7-17:23 NIV). God cleansed the land and spared only the righteous, it seems only fitting that this is the model that should be followed. It can also be said that God is merciful, and that Jesus dies for our sins, both of which are true, however, when it comes to heinous crimes, capital punishment should be enforced and that can be seen and modeled for in the Bible as well-for serious crimes capital punishment was used and enforced. Appointed judges made those decisions.

How should a Christian view the death penalty?

God has instituted capital punishment in His Word; and has given government the authority to institute capital punishment which states “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). The Old Testament law commanded the death penalty for various acts: murder, adultery, homosexuality, false prophets, promiscuity-see Exodus 21-22, Leviticus 20, and Deuteronomy 13. (BibleGateway)

It is not something to be happy about when someone dies, even someone who has done wrong, as it is a lost soul from the perspective of a Christian. However, in that same token, a Christian should also not be fighting against the governments God given right to institute the death penalty. Christians should educate others as to what the Bible does teach about sin, salvation, and the capital punishment. Division among the effectiveness and righteousness of the death penalty is not just between geographical regions, political lines, races, but also religion and even Christian denominations. Not many people are excited about death or excited to institute death as a penalty which is why the rates of death penalties as a punishment and those on death row are not very high in comparison to the population of the United States.

Current Statistics and Effectiveness of the Death Penalty

The rates of actual executions seem to be moving at a snail’s pace. According to Capital Punishment Statistics “at year-end 2016, a total of 32 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) held 2,814 prisoners under sentence of death, which was 58 (2%) fewer than at year-end 2015.” In relation to the total population of the United States, this is an extremely small percentage, and seems many are getting off with a so-called slap on the wrist, life sentences all of which the United States government cannot continue to sustain from a financial perspective and our innocents cannot be allowed to be targeted as repeat victims any longer. In 2016, the number of prisoners under sentence of death decreased for the sixteenth consecutive year. (Capital Punishment Statistics) Five states executed a total of 20 prisoners in 2016, with Georgia and Texas accounting for 80% of executions. (Capital Punishment Statistics).

Based on this statistic, it can be inferred that the majority of the executions are done in the south. About 2000 men, women, and teenagers currently wait on America’s ‘death row.’ (Santa Clara University). For those that are on death row and have had a chance to appeal their case thoroughly, then execution should follow; the innocent men, women and children should not be put at risk. The people of America when thinking of capital punishment must also think about the victims that have suffered so egregiously; are the lives of the murders and rapists to be favored over the lives of those who cannot even protect themselves such as children? These are true questions up for discussion, if risks are to be made, let it not be on the innocent.


In the United States many people believe that the death penalty is not righteous and is wrong, that all persons must be protected regardless of their wrongdoings or sins. Some may even site when Jesus showed mercy to David when he committed adultery or to the woman who was caught in the act of adultery when the pharisees brought her before him and asked him to stone her, yet he showed mercy. It is true, Jesus did show mercy and sometimes our earthly judges show mercy. However, there are times when capital punishment must be enforced. Currently prisons are overpopulated, and criminals continue to be repeat offenders. There is no seeming consistent deterrent to criminal behavior of felony crimes such as rape, murder, and child abuse. Consistent capital punishment would be effective if instituted across America.

As mentioned above, the Lord did institute capital punishment Himself, so it would be untrue to state that capital punishment is unrighteous. It is not completely clear on a wholistic level yet if capital punishment is effective on a national level until that implementation takes effect. However, the rates of criminals coming back to prison is increasing and the budgets for prison systems are skyrocketing. Holding prisoners on death row for crimes such as murder for years upon years is not effective or sensible for any involved.

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Is the Death Penalty Effective. (2021, Apr 12). Retrieved from