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Capital Punishment: An Ongoing Arguement Essay example

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Since the year 1608, over 15,269 people have been executed in the United States and its predecessor colonies (Smykla, and Espy). With the multitude of persons executed, there is still little evidence proving the effectiveness of capital punishment when concerning future violent crime rates. The death penalty is also costly when compared to the cost of imprisoning a violent criminal for life. With such a definitive punishment and with its finality, there have also been a large number of persons executed who were in fact shown to be innocent at a later time. Although there is a lengthy history of the death penalty in the United States, there is an immense disparity in regards to those who support capital punishment and those who wish to abolish it, however, with the abundance of evidence in support of its abolishment, capital punishment should cease to exist in the United States until a time where it proves to be efficient and beneficial to society.
There is little evidence, if any at all, that supports the fact that capital punishment deters crime rates. In a study on capital punishment and its deterrence effects by Lawrence Katz, Steven D. Levitt, and Ellen Shustorovich, presented with little systematic evidence that the execution rate influences crime rates (Katz, Levitt, and Shustorovich 318-343). There are many reasons why the death penalty does not deter crime rates such as the prolonged time period on death row, usually ten years, the ease of appealing to reduce sentences to life in prison, and the fact that some criminals do not have the education to be rational enough to think about the punishment before committing the crime. Some proponents of capital punishment argue that if executions were delivered swiftly, then...


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... individuals but governments as well (Prejean ). The United States must lead by example and make responsible decisions and policies in order set examples so that citizens may follow suit.



Works Cited

Drehle, Von. "Life in Prison One-Sixth as Expensive." Miami Herald 10 July 1988: 12A, col. 1. Print.
Katz, Lawrence, Steven Levitt, and Ellen Shustorovich. "Prison Conditions, Capital Punishment, and Deterrence." American Law and Economics Review. 5.2 (2003): 318-343. Print.
Murray, Frank. "Innocents on Death Row." Insight on the News. 15.43 (1999): 30. Print.
Prejean, Helen. Dead Man Walking. United States: Library of Congress, 1993. Print.
Smykla, John, and Watt Espy. "Capital Punishment in the United States." National Archive of Criminal Justice Data. N.p., 1987. Web. 6 Jul 2011. .


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