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Death Penalty

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Death Penalty

Introduction

Informed arguments against the death penalty are more persuasive than arguments in favor of it, as the negative affects of the death penalty have become widely publicized and illustrate the ineffectiveness of this cruel punishment. The death penalty is an inefficient form of punishment as innocent offenders may be executed, superior forms of restitution are available, and it fails to deter crime, all of which contribute to informed arguments against it.

Deterrence

The primary function of the death penalty is to act as deterrence, yet evidence has indicted that this cruel punishment has failed to deter crime.

* Inconsistent: Any punishment can be an effective deterrent only if it is consistently and promptly employed. The death penalty cannot be administered to meet these conditions as it is never consistent or employed correctly. Only a small proportion of first-degree murderers are sentenced to death, and even fewer are executed. The death penalty fails to deter because it is an inconsistent punishment, which permits offenders to believe that the punishment will not be applied.

* Premeditated: Persons who commit murder and other crimes of personal violence either premeditate them or they do not. If the crime is premeditated, the criminal ordinarily concentrates on escaping detection, arrest, and conviction. The threat of even the severest punishment will not deter those who expect to escape detection and arrest. If the crime is not premeditated, then it is impossible to imagine how the threat of any punishment could deter it.

* Emotional Turmoil: Most capital crimes are committed during moments of great emotional stress or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, when logical thinking has been suspended. Impulsive or expressive violence is inflicted by persons heedless of the consequences to themselves as well as to others. As the offender is under such emotional turmoil, the last thing on their mind would be the consequences of their crime.

* Imprison is serve enough: If however severe punishment can deter crime in rare cases, then long term imprisonment is severe enough to cause any rational person not to commit violent crimes. The vast preponderance of the evidence shows that the death penalty is no more effective than imprisonment in deterring murder and that it may even be an incitement to criminal violence in certain cases.

* Induce suicide: The death penalty can actually incited the capital crimes it was supposed to deter. These include instances of the so-called suicide-by-execution syndrome -- persons who wanted but feared to take their own life and committed murder so that society would kill them.

Possible innocence

Unlike all other criminal punishments, the death penalty is uniquely irrevocable. There is a large body of evidence shows that innocent people are often convicted of crimes, including capital crimes and that some of them have been executed. There is an average of more than four cases per year in the United States in which an entirely innocent person was convicted of murder. Scores of these persons were sentenced to death. In many cases, a reprieve or commutation arrived just hours, or even minutes, before the

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