ANSWER DISCUSSION QUESTION:
Give the pros and cons of the death penalty. Do some research and post an article or research on why or why not the death penalty is effective. Discuss with classmates or the Instructor points that are made.
RESPOND TO THREE BELOW CLASSMATES POSTS:
Proponents of the death penalty say it is an important tool for preserving law and order, deters crime, and costs less than life imprisonment. They argue that retribution or "an eye for an eye" honors the victim, helps console grieving families, and ensures that the perpetrators of heinous crimes never have an opportunity to cause future tragedy.
Opponents of capital punishment say it has no deterrent effect on crime, wrongly gives governments the power to take human life, and perpetuates social injustices by disproportionately targeting people of color (racist) and people who cannot afford good attorneys (classist). They say lifetime jail sentences are a more severe and less expensive punishment than death.
Studies: Death Penalty Discourages Crime
What gets little notice, however, is a series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim to settle a once hotly debated argument — whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. The analyses say yes. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer. "Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it," said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. "The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect." A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides.
The cons of the death penalty majorly consist of the possibility of wrongful conviction. There are many cases where convicted offenders were exonerated from death row, whether DNA testing or other evidence. Although the offender is sometimes paid a monetary compensation for being wrongfully convicted and serving time, his/her emotional distress will affect them significantly. All of this proves that the justice system is not perfect and subject to mistakes.
Perhaps one of the most controversial topics when it comes to corrections and sentencing of a court of law - the death penalty. The biggest con of the death penalty of course is the possibility of executing an individual who was actually innocent. It has happened, and is preventable. According to Amnesty International, since 1977 there have been 140 people released from death row due to evidence that proved their innocence of crimes they were convicted of. This of course poses the question of how many of the 1,200 executed during that time period could have been truly innocent, but a lack of evidence could not overturn their conviction. Others cons of the death penalty pertain to the fact of 14 states without it, have lower homicide rates, suggesting that it may not be a deterrent. Amnesty International also claims that it is racially biased, due to 77% of those who have been executed have been for killing white people even though African-Americans account for 50% of homicides. One of the pros for the death penalty that stood out to me was that by executing murderers, we are protecting everyone else from that person killing anyone again. Regardless of the morality, it is difficult to argue that statement. Another large pro for the death penalty is to simply provide justice, or an "eye for an eye" type of resolution. Those with this opinion seem to lean on the stigma that the justice system caters more to the perpetrator than to the victims or the families of victims of a crime. Overall, I am on the fence with the death penalty. I generally do not oppose in a clear cut case of someone's guilt, but it is not sobering that new evidence can come to light even after the execution of someone. I believe in death for those who are deserving, but with no guarantee of guilt or innocence, due to our broken court system, it makes the decision very difficult.
Here is the link for Amnesty International. Very interesting statistics.