The Pros of the Death Penalty: Deterrence and Consequence for Major Crimes

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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The death penalty is a topic that has different views and has major controversies in the United States.

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There are many states that favor it, but there are also states that have banned it as long as people oppose it and are in favor of it. There are currently 33 states in which the death penalty is legal and seventeen states that have abolished it. Controversies such as legal perspectives, philosophical, moral, and ethical perspectives are some reasons there are arguments in why or why not the death penalty should be practiced in the United States.

The Enforced Use of Capital Punishment in Several States

Although the use of capital punishment is greatly enforced in many states such as Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, etc., it is viewed as a cruel way to punish anybody, according to 27 states that oppose the practice. Since death is feared by many people and enforcing capital punishment, it is believed that would discourage citizens in the United States from committing major crimes such as murder. Therefore, if citizens had the knowledge of what would happen to them if they committed a major crime, they would know the ultimate consequence of their actions, which is the death penalty.

Legal Standpoints and the 8th Amendment

There is also another argument that many people have that opposes the punishment. The death penalty is thought to be inhumane and unnecessary, which is against the 8th Amendment: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Even though this could be a vital argument to ban the death penalty from being enforced in every state, it surely was not enough for the Supreme Court. Supreme Court ruled that the use of the death penalty did not result in the violation of the 8th Amendment due to the 14th Amendment’s due process laws (Legal Information Institute). According to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, the death penalty is not cruel and unusual with the right procedures. What Burger is stating is that no one should suffer from the death penalty for a long period of time, the process should be quick, and the person should not perish for long periods of time. An example of a death penalty sentence includes a lethal injection, where the person sentenced passes away after being put in a deep sleep due to the stoppage of the heart.

The Role of Capital Punishment in Maintaining Social Order

When someone commits a crime, it disturbs the order of Society; crimes such as murder take away many lives, peace, and liberties from Society. No citizen should live in fear upon leaving their households, but unfortunately, that is the case. With an increase in school shootings, bombings, and homicides in popular cities, people are living in constant fear (The American Prospect). Giving the death penalty as a punishment simply restores order to Society and adequately punishes the criminal for his wrongdoing. If a criminal has committed multiple crimes, with murder being one of them, with that criminal being executed, he will no longer have an opportunity to commit those crimes again. The same goes for that person not being a threat to Society when being set free. After all, the death penalty does not apply to those that commit small crimes but those who committed mass murders, which is a reason why they should not be allowed back into Society.

According to public opinion, in 2010, poll data included what people from states that allowed the death penalty thought of capital punishment and what should happen to criminals that have committed major crimes such as murder. According to Society, 61% suggest they would prefer other options than the death penalty, which includes 39% of them suggesting life without parole+resiution, 13% life without parole, and 9% life with parole. 33% percent, on the other hand, wanted to keep the death penalty, with 6% having no opinion (Cruel and Unusual).

Economic Considerations Surrounding the Death Penalty

Since there must be a valuable case in sentencing someone to the death penalty, few cases actually sentence someone from being executed. It would be cheaper if the death penalty were abolished according to sentencing the criminal to life without parole. If the death penalty were to be banned, states would indeed save funds per year; California would save $170 million, and Florida $51 million. States such as North Carolina, Texas, and Maryland could save more funds if they sentenced someone to life without parole instead of seeking the death penalty upon them. North Carolina is able to save 2.6 million per year (Cruel and Unusual). With such results, citizens prefer to have the money spent on programs to help reduce crime rates instead of spending it on the death penalty.

Conclusion: My Stance on the Death Penalty

With the death penalty being controversial to this date, there are pros and cons. The pros are that there must be a vital consequence for every person to know what lies ahead of them as a consequence of their actions. The law, therefore, must be enforced, and there must be a final punishment that should frighten anyone who does not obey the laws. There is also a negative effect that the death penalty has on the economy since it is more expensive to sentence someone to the death penalty than it is to keep them alive without parole.

As there are reasons to possibly ban the practice of the death penalty, I firmly am in favor of the reasons why people should fear breaking the law and possibly have a decrease in mass shootings. There should be no reason why Society should live in constant fear that one day could be their last day due to an increase in crime in homicide. This is one of many reasons I am in favor of the death penalty. Another reason why is that there should be a major consequence if someone commits a major crime, like taking another person’s life.

Works Cited

  1. Death Penalty Information Center (2020). Facts about the Death Penalty.
  2. The American Prospect (2019). The Toll of Fear and Gun Violence.
  3. Cruel and Unusual (2011). Public Opinion on the Death Penalty. [Documentary]. United States.
  4. Banner, S. (2002). The Death Penalty: An American History. Harvard University Press.
  5. Garossino, S. (2021). Capital Punishment: The Pros and Cons of the Death Penalty. The National Observer
  6. Steiker, C. S., & Steiker, J. M. (2016). Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment. Belknap Press.
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The Pros of the Death Penalty: Deterrence and Consequence for Major Crimes. (2023, Jun 21). Retrieved from