The Death Penalty

The Death Penalty Capital punishment has been a cause for debate for many years, and people continue to disagree on the topic. There are many reasons why the death penalty should be used, but the three most important are that it deters potential murderers from committing crimes, it saves our government money in the long run, and most importantly, it guarantees that these convicted murderers will not kill again. Why does the United States need capital punishment? The main purpose of the death penalty is to protect the rights of other Americans to live. In his book, The Law, Federic Bastiat writes, humans have inalienable rights that existed outside of and before government. These rights are life, liberty, and property.

The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect these rights. When one person infringes on anothers rights, he must be punished. To do this, the punishment must be harsh enough to deter potential criminals(Bastiat). This punishment is of the harshest form, but it is necessary to maintain order. Is capital punishment in fact a deterrent? Studies show that it most definitely is.

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In fact, of the fourteen states that have at one time or another abolished the death penalty, murder has increased by seven percent. Likewise, a study by Stephen K. Layton at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed that each execution in the United States deters an average of eighteen murders(Lowe). If the death penalty were in-acted in a swifter manner, it would most likely deter even better. The average amount of time spent on death row is ten years! John McAdams, a professor of Political Science at Marquette University sums it up best: If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and in so doing would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims.

I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call(Pro-death The death penalty also saves the government money in the long run. A trial for a capital case (which is a case of first-degree murder) is already time consuming and expensive. This type of case usually takes around six weeks and constitutes between 3,000 and 5,000 pages of court records. When a convicted killer is given life without parole, the appeals made by attorneys on both sides, as well as appeals by the court and the judges involved, add up to millions of dollars our government wastes every year, not to mention money for the convicted murderers food and clothing, etc.(Jacobs, Landes, and Siegel). Lastly, I feel that capital punishment is the only way of making sure that a murderer will not kill again.

Many people refute this argument by saying, Well, what about life in prison without parole? Doesnt that do the same thing? Sadly, most convicted murderers are not given life prison terms, especially with their first murder. The average prison sentence for murder is less than six years!(Jacobs, Landes, and Siegel) The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in 1998, thirty-seven states and the federal prison system held 3,452 prisoners under sentence of death, all of which had committed murder. Among the inmates with available criminal histories, two out of three had a prior felony conviction, and even more abhorrent, one in two had a prior homicide conviction(Bureau)! The cold hard truth is that if a convicted murderer is allowed to go free, he/she will most likely murder again. At least six percent of murderers kill again within six years of their release(Sentencing Info.). In conclusion, the death penalty seems to me to be the best course of action in a murder case.

As I have said, it is the best deterrent America employs against murder, it saves our country money, and most importantly, it guarantees that a murderer will not have the chance to kill again. America works itself into a frenzy about a convicted murderers right to life, but seem to have forgotten the rights of the innocent victim who was killed, making their deaths mere numbers on a newspaper page. Social Issues.