Death Penalty Essay: Is the Death Penalty an Effective Deterrent?


Death Penalty Essay: Is the Death Penalty an Effective Deterrent?

There are emerging and intense debates about the viability and effectiveness of the death penalty. The justification of this type of sentence is capturing economic, social, political, and legal aspects of every country today. Some of the scholars believe that the death penalty helps deter murders and, in the process, saves lives. However, there are still high rates of crimes in the world, thus, proving how much the death penalty is ineffective in containing crimes.

Application of the Death Penalty

A country implements the execution of people as a form of punishment for the various crimes committed. This type of punishment happens to people who may not even qualify to be criminals. Some countries execute people due to offenses related to drugs or terrorism. Others apply the death penalty to individuals who have mental problems and other intellectual disabilities. Reports show that countries are having the habit of violating international law and standards by executing children below 18 years. There is no justification whatsoever for allowing the death of individuals, even if they are guilty. The use of this punishment is not effective in eliminating crime in the world.

The Death Penalty in the US

Majority of the countries still applying the death penalty punishment believe that it is the most effective way of discouraging crimes and wrongdoings in the society. However, various researches show that the death penalty is not as effective as perceived, and it only leads to the loss of lives. The United States reaffirmed the death penalty in 1976. After the first year of reaffirmation, 1480 people died through lethal injection. However, there is a clear indication of the ineffectiveness of this sentence. The NAACP report shows that the total number of people executed as of December 2019 was 1512. The death penalty is still legal in 29 states in the US, and there was an execution of 22 people in 2019. The same year, the governments imposed 34 sentences with the majority of them from Florida State. 

Additionally, 29 of 166 people from death row exonerations since 1973 to December 2019 are from Florida State. This state is the most affected due to the belief that it is prone to high crime cases. The strict measures to curb crime rates in various states in the US affect people of all ages. For instance, there were 55 women on death row by mid-July, 2019, and 16 of them executed since the reinstatement of the punishment. Also, there was an execution of 22 juveniles from the time of reiteration. Although the proponents believe that this type of punishment preserves law and order, and it is less costly compared to life imprisonment, the opponents equate it to crime. The only difference comes in because the government uses legal means to commit crimes. The death penalty is not effective as it only cultivates social injustices where the low-income earners and those of the inferior races are the most affected.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the death penalty leads to the violation of the Constitution, which works to protect people against cruel and unacceptable forms of punishment. The Constitution provides for the equal protection of all people, and the government should not take advantage of its powers to implement human killing. Executing individuals is unfair, inequitable, and it is against the fundamental provisions of democracy. Through the ACLU's objections, several points show how ineffective is the death penalty.

Arguments Opposing the Effectiveness of the Death Penalty

First, the death penalty is unusual and full of cruelty and denies due law processes. Capital punishment is a past relic associated with slavery that came along with corporal punishments. In the same way, the current civilized society, such as in the US, has no space for barbaric practices. It is also important to note that the imposition of the death penalty is arbitrary and continuously irreversible. In this case, this type of punishment deprives one of the opportunities of benefiting any new evidence or any changes in the law that might help reverse the death sentence or conviction. This shows that the death penalty is not practical.

Second, apart from violating the guarantee of the constitutional provisions, the death penalty is not feasible in controlling crimes. The application of this punishment is discriminatory since it is random. Its use is mostly full of disproportion affecting the poor, people of color, the uneducated, or those from certain parts of the country. As per the reports from police officers, it is clear that crime can only reduce through increasing the number of officers on the streets, imposing gun control programs, and putting in place long sentences. Besides, the ranking put the death penalty at the bottom of the viable methods used to curb crime.     

Third, the death penalty lacks respect for human life with no sympathy for human beings. Executing people is as bad as officiating homicide, and this step sanctions the solving of social problems through the killing of people. Politicians create a false conviction to justify the punishment of individuals through the shading of blood, which eventually destroys the decency of society. Although murder is shocking, it is disrespect for human life and immoral to advocate for state-authorized killings. Besides, the advocation of capital punishment wastes the resources of the justice system. Instead of channeling the resources into curbing criminal activities, the state spends a lot on the death penalty, which is the least viable method of crime control. 

Arguments for Effectiveness of the Death Penalty

On the other hand, some people believe that the death penalty is essential in reducing crime rates. Naturally, human beings inherently fear any suggestion to lose a life. Imposing the death penalty is, thus, significant in creating a fear factor that will help reduce the chances of committing crimes. Also, most of the people believe an eye for an eye is the best remedy to the committed murder. They think that imposing the death penalty helps appease the dead, hence reduce their suffering. Although some scholars justify the imposition of the death penalty, it is essential to understand that this form of punishment is against human rights. Also, it is ineffective in reducing the rate of crime in the world, and every country should ensure this barbaric method does not find any place in society today.

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Published on: 4 Jun 2020

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