Capital Punishment In America. Essay

1773 words - 7 pages

The death penalty is a highly controversial topic in the United States. The death penalty is the taking of a life by the government for crimes. It has been around for thousands of years, since the ancient Babylonians, and has been used numerous times in history as a deterrent for crimes usually involving murder (Caldwell 597). Capital punishment is beneficial to society not only because it deters crime, but also helps the economy, prevents the public from taking matters into their own hands, protects people from murderers, and gives the victim's family and friends closure. Many opponents of the death penalty have many reasons why capital punishment may be wrong such as, risk of hurting the innocent, racism and sexism, and Christian moral code, however, with a closer look at the facts, the pros outweigh the cons. The death penalty is necessary in any society and should continue to be used in the United States today.People have a natural fear against death making the death penalty an effective deterrent to crimes. The fact that you may lose your life may be the deciding factor in a future crime. Many opponents to the death penalty claim studies show that states murder rates did not increase when they abolished the death penalty (Bedau 135). These studies are inconclusive because the death penalty does not simply put fear into murderers, it also attaches horror and disgust to certain crimes. If a state allowed the death penalty for an extensive period of time, and then removed it, the public would still know what crimes were considered more heinous, and murder rates would not increase just because the penalty was made less severe. A poet named Hyam Barshay said,The death penalty is a warning, just like a lighthouse throwing beams out to sea. We hear about shipwrecks, but we do not hear about the ships the lighthouse guides safely on their way. We do not have proof of the number of ships it saves, but we do not tear the lighthouse down (Dudley).Another reason the death penalty should be used is because it is cheaper and costs less for the taxpayers. Many opponents of the death penalty immediately argue that the cost of a death penalty trial is 3-10 times more expensive than a normal case (Dudley). Opponents ignore that cases have an annual cost. An average LWOP case (life without parole) cost $34,200 a year at a 2% cost annual increase. At 50 years the LWOP trial costs a total of $3.01 million. Death penalty trials cost $60,000 a year at 2% annual increase. Death penalty cases will only increase for an average of 6 years, unlike the 50 in the LWOP trials, and the total cost for the death penalty trials will come out to $1.88 million, including appeals (Dudley.) The claim that death penalty trials cost more than LWOP trials is only half-true, because it is actually much cheaper after the annual increases. This benefits not only the economy but also the safety of citizens because it allows the state to spend more money on other aspects of the justice...

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