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Death Penalty

Essay by   •  February 3, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,456 Words (6 Pages)  •  753 Views

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Almost 18 years ago an innocent wife and mother to two, named Sarah Bryne, received a call by her husband's old college roommate. He explained to her that he and his wife were staying at a secluded motel near her work and were only staying for the weekend. She left work early to go and meet him and his wife. When she arrived he was alone. Once she was inside and the door closed he raped her. After raping her he stuffed her inside a small trunk, put the trunk in the back seat of his car and drove away. She made a help me sign in red lipstick and slid it through the trunk. Many motorists saw this plea and called the police. But before they could catch up he stopped on a secluded farm road, ripped her out of the trunk, strangled her with a necktie, broke her neck, and then finally finished the torture by stabbing her 14 times. He then put her mangled body back in the trunk and drove home to his wife and kids (1). There is only one offence in the state of Washington that you can receive the death penalty for and that is aggravated murder in the first degree. To receive this punishment one must plan out his act and in committing the crime commit an aggravating circumstance (3). Stabbing + raping + breaking a neck + strangulation all add up to an aggravated circumstance. It's for people like this that we have instituted the death penalty. The death penalty is a just punishment, but like any system it does have some flaws.

Although the death penalty does not work too well as a general deterrent it does work as a specific deterrent. Specific deterrent means that the penalty is keeping the offender from re-offending (2). Studies show that those who commit murder, if given the chance, re-offend. But some may wonder, isn't life in prison keeping them from committing the crime again? The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation states that "the leading cause of death among prison inmates is murder by other inmates. A murderer serving a life sentence has no reason at all to refrain from killing other inmates or guards, or from hiring other criminals outside of prison to kill those who helped convict them." But on the other hand the death penalty offers the opposite effect when it comes to general deterrence.

The overwhelming conclusion from years of deterrence studies is that the death penalty is, at best, no more of a deterrent than a sentence of life in prison (2). Criminologist William Bowers of Northeastern University, states that "society is brutalized by the use of the death penalty, and this increases the likelihood of more murder." (2) He later goes on to say that states in the U.S. that do not have the death penalty have drastically lower murder rates than states that do have capital punishment. The same is also true when the U.S. is compared to countries similar to it that don't have the death penalty. The U.S., with the death penalty, has a higher murder rate than Europe and Canada, which do not use the death penalty.

But the United States is not Canada or Europe, in fact Canada has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and thus their murder rates are lower. There are also studies to show that William Bowers is wrong in his statement. Isaac Ehrlich, a criminologist, did many studies which produced results showing that for every inmate who was executed, 7 lives were spared because others were deterred from committing murder and the person who committed the murder was prevented from re-committing (2). Sentencing a convicted murder do the death penalty does save lives, but is it humane?

In my own opinion the death penalty is not humane. The Webster's dictionary states that humane is: Characterized by kindness, mercy, and or compassion. How is it kind to have someone suffocate for up to 45 minutes (hanging method)? How is it mercy to stick someone in a chamber, an invention we stole from Hitler, and instructing them to breath deeply for a less painful death as deathly gas filters in (gas chamber method)? How are we showing compassion by shocking someone for many 30 second intervals with 500 plus volts of electricity? Capital punishment is not humane, but should it be? Why should we show a convicted aggravated murder kindness, mercy or compassion when he has neglected to show that himself?

We should show kindness, mercy and compassion because these convicted murders were first victims. Studies have always shown that those who commit the violent act of murder were abused sexually, mentally, of physically as children. When you are abused at a young age you are taught that it is ok to be violent. Those who commit murder do not need to be punishment so severely, but they need to be nurtured with rehabilitation.

Serial killer Ted Bundy killed many people and he was abused as a child, he is also on record saying that he would kill again if he had the chance. Robert Nicholas was convicted of murder aver he killed his three



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