The Use of Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment is when a person is legally punished for a crime by death. This is a subject that is very controversial and people tend to have a strong opinion of support or opposition on the topic. I support capital punishment for what I believe are many logical and sound reasons.

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Capital punishment is the most equal discipline for a person who commits murder. Putting someone to death for a terrible crime makes other criminals think twice of doing the same act. Also, capital punishment is also one of the best ways to find closure for the victim’s families and for them to know that justice was served.

Not everyone feels the same way about capital punishment. “The death penalty is used to deter killers, but it models the very behavior it seeks to prevent. It teaches the lesson that it is acceptable to kill, as long as the state is the one doing the killing.” (Bushman, 2014) He goes on to say that violence is being treated with more violence. He has studied violence for over twenty-five years and believes that the use of capital punishment is flawed.

The use of capital punishment has changed over the years as well. Some people believe it is used too much and others feel it is not used enough. Nick McKeown (2016) feels that there are numerous people who were given capital punishment in the United States who were innocent. He believes that there should be life imprisonment without the opportunity of parole. He says that it will save the government much more money. (McKeown, 2016) There are people who believe that capital punishment is also used less in the past twenty-five years. Professor Garrett discusses in his 2017 podcast of the decrease in murder rates, the creation of state-wide public defender offices, and jurors who are increasingly unwilling to return death sentences. Professor Garrett has researched and analyzed all the death sentences imposed in the U.S. during the past 25 years to determine what factors have led to the decline in the number of people who are being sentenced to death. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, when prisoners are sentenced to death, they then spend months in prison before execution. This creates a huge expense to keep these prisoners locked up.

Many families of victims have a hard time dealing with the fact that it takes so long to charge the criminal for the crime. The family may just want to have a chance to see the criminal brought to their justice, which is death. We are left to wonder if letting criminals live is the best way to punish them for an unimaginable crime. Prison conditions could be a larger punishment for some of the prisoners than that of capital punishment.

Capital punishment is the perfect outcome for those who take the life of others. Derek Hunter (2016) says it best, “But where the death penalty works, where it has a 100 percent success rate, is recidivism. No executed criminal has ever harmed another innocent human being.” It does not seem like it should even be an option to stay alive if you have killed another individual. Capital punishment is delivering the same outcome to the criminal for which they felt the victim deserved.

“I believe in second chances. I believe in reform and rehabilitation. But I also believe in evil.” (Lewis, 2015) Mr. Lewis believes that we need to make a statement to those who are evil and commit evil crimes. We cannot sit back and let it happen without serving them with a harsh punishment. A strong capital punishment supporter (William Tucker, 2015) states that, “Only when the death penalty was reinstated and states started executing people in significant numbers in the 1990s did they again fall to 1960s levels. The 500,000 murders committed during this interim took more lives than any conflict in American history since the Civil War.” This provides huge statistical support of why capital punishment is so effective. It may be that if capital punishment is given to a criminal, other criminals may see that this crime was treated seriously and they may second-guess their choice to commit the same crime. “Recent research on the relationship between capital punishment and homicide has created a consensus among most economists who have studied the issue that capital punishment deters murder. Early studies from the 1970s and 1980s reached conflicting results. However, recent studies have exploited better data and more sophisticated statistical techniques. The modern refereed studies have consistently shown that capital punishment has a strong deterrent effect, with each execution deterring between 3 and 18 murders.”

The use of capital punishment gives the families a chance to feel as though they were given some type of closure in a loved one’s death. Knowing that their loved one did not die at the hands of a potential repeat murderer gives them relief. The pain and suffering that was bestowed upon their loved one will be passed on to the criminal in a similar way. “The point of the death penalty, however, is not to see how much pain can be unleashed on the murderer but to bring him to justice.” (Carmical, 2011) The families of the loved ones just want to know that the judicial system is supporting their loved ones and that the criminal was given his just sentence.

Capital punishment may seem very harsh to some although it is the best choice of how to deal with a person who committed an extremely serious and detrimental crime. This type of punishment shows the most positive results in providing justice, protects potential future victims, and showing support for the families of the victims.              

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