Is the state justified in executing people convicted of crimes?
The state should not have the right to execute people convicted of crimes. I see capital punishment as an immoral practice because capital punishment has failed to prove any benefits. Capital punishment is not cost effective and does not have a deterrence effect. I believe that the influence of media has caused the widespread support for the capital punishment. The public needs to be aware of the reasons why capital punishment cannot be justified.
There is a common belief in our society that it is costly to keep a person in prison on a life-sentence. This belief is true—imprisoning a person requires about $20,000 annually. However, studies showed that the cost of capital punishment significantly exceeds the cost of life-long prison terms. When capital punishment is ...view middle of the document...
Deterrence theory is envisioned as people weighing their potential punishments before acting. Many supporters of death penalty argue that by permitting the presence of death penalty in our legal system, potential murderers will reconsider their action and therefore result in lesser homicide rate. However, statistics showed that throughout the history, carrying out an execution had no effect on homicide rates. I believe that capital punishment actually has an anti-deterrence effect. Once ruled, capital punishment is final. Therefore, criminals tend to do anything to avoid being captured, with no consideration of bargaining their sentence. Criminals might pursue elimination of potential witnesses by additional killings. The law enforcement recognizes this threat, stating that death penalty is “the enemy of law enforcement.” Among the ways to reduce violent crimes, police ranked the death penalty as the last on the list.
Some support capital punishment because they believe that the crime of taking away others’ lives should be dealt with taking away their own lives as well. However, I believe that in a modern and civilized society, the government needs to focus on providing rational rules and support for rehabilitation. Societies should not demand horrible suffering by the criminals, when the punishment does not stand on any other justification other than the satisfactory factor of the act. I discovered that part of the reason why I used to support death penalty was because of my hatred felt toward murderers. I have been influenced from the media portrayal of murderers as persons who conduct acts of irrational cruelty. Homicides that are carried out just for the sake of killing are rare occurrences but they gain massive attention by the media hence influence our view on murderers. We cannot be deterred by our hatred toward criminals of rare occurrences and need to recognize the fact that capital punishment is illogical and immoral.