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Death Penalty

Essay by   •  February 7, 2011  •  Essay  •  645 Words (3 Pages)  •  767 Views

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There have been many debates in the United States over all different things, but the death penalty has been one of the most debated issues in decades. Capital punishment is by definition the execution of a person convicted of committing a crime so extreme that no other punishment fits the crime. The people anti-death penalty, prefer life without parole instead. However, the death penalty holds advantages for the general public over life without parole in the areas of deterrence, cost, and what they say is justified punishment.

The first advantage is the deterrence of future criminals. Since the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was a legitimate punishment in 1976, crime rate in states, such as California and Texas that uphold the death penalty have decreased. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the violent crime rate in Texas has dropped over thirty percent. In addition to the decrease in crime rates, the number of death sentences being carried out has increased, instilling the fear in would-be criminals of being severely punished for their actions. On the other end of the spectrum, the U.S. Justice Department has shown that states such as Alaska and West Virginia that do not have the death penalty have had an increase in crime rates of around thirty percent. This supports the idea that the fear of being punished is not there for those criminals. Unfortunately, the death penalty is used so rarely that it isn't as effective as it could be.

The next advantage is the cost to maintain these criminals in the prisons. The price to keep a person on death row is paid by the taxpayers, which includes the victim's families. The average time on death row reported by the U.S. Department of Justice is 8 years costing approximately $60,000 per year for a total of $1.88 million. Carrying out the execution, provides more space for prisoners that are convicted of less violent crimes. Of course, the cost to maintain a person in for life appears much less in the short-term, but it is more expensive in the long-term. The U.S. Department of Justice reports show that the cost to house a life without parole prisoner is $34,200 per year and the average years in prison is fifty, which totals $3.01 million for a $1.13 million difference. By the courts sentencing criminals to life without parole, the population in the prison system increases which means more space has to be provided. In order for them to do this, additional



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