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Failures of Capital Punishment Essay

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Failures of Capital Punishment

Is the death penalty a just way of punishing those who commit a horrible crime? The answer to that depends on the standpoint of an individual. Fox Butterfield of the New York Times notices that “In the view of some, the failure to enforce the death penalty reflects and enduring ambivalence about the capital punishment. Others say that the death penalty opponents have found ways to triumph over the public will to carry out executions.” In a capitalistic standpoint, there is the notion that it simply costs too much. There is another and more simple standpoint and that is that the death penalty is not working. This is where I personally stand on the issue. The death penalty is a just punishment for a convicted individual, but the system in the United States is not functioning properly for it to be a means of punishment.

As far as deterrence goes, Amnesty international states that “studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments.” Roger Hood, an author that wrote The Death Penalty: A World-wide Perspective, Notes the UN’s research on the subject and states that “ ‘Research has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment and such proof is unlikely forthcoming. The evidence as a whole still gives no positive support to the deterrent hypothesis….” Hood is strongly for the abolition of the death penalty. He explains that “abolition has harmful effects. In Canada, the homicide rate per 100,000 population fell from a peak of 3.09 in 1975, the year before the abolition of the death penalty for murder, to 2.41 in 1980, and since then it has remained relat...


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...bolish the death penalty.” The cost issue is another standpoint opposing capital punishment. The fact that the capital punishment process has some major flaws is a good reason to think about whether or not America should incorporate it as a punishment. Sure, many people are for the idea if it, but there are too many legal issues and problems that are defeating the purpose if the death penalty. Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death penalty group, claims “that the zeal for capital punishment will eventually wane.” Once Americans realize that the capital punishment system is not perfectly functional, then change will occur. The bottleneck in the courts and jails across the country will be cleared, and the United States of America will be added to Amnesty International’s list of countries that have abolished the death penalty.


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