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THE DEATH PENALTY
More than 13,000 people have been legally executed since colonial times, most of them in the early 20th Century. By the 1930s, as many as 150 people were executed each year. However, public outrage and legal challenges caused the practice to come to a halt. By 1967, capital punishment had virtually halted in the United States, pending the outcome of several court challenges. Since our nation's founding, the government, colonial, federal and state, has punished murder and, until recent years, rape with the ultimate sanction: death. I think that the nation should still actively use this form of punishment when necessary
More than 2,000 people are on "death row" today. Virtually all are poor, a significant number are mentally retarded or otherwise mentally disabled, more than 40 percent are African American, and a inappropriate number are Native American, Latino and Asian.
Does the Death Penalty deter crime, especially murder? No, there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime. States that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have abolished capital punishment, or instituted it, show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates.
Don't murderers deserve to die? Certainly, in general, the punishment should fit the crime. But in civilized society, we reject the "eye for an eye" principle of literally doing to criminals what they do to their victims: The penalty for rape cannot be rape, or for arson, the burning down of the arsonist's house. We should , therefore, punish the murderer with death along with all other heinous crimes.
If execution is unacceptable, what is the alternative? Incapacitation. Convicted murderers can be sentenced to lengthy prison terms, including life, as they are in countries and states that have abolished the death penalty. Most state laws allow life sentences for murder that severely limit or eliminate the e possibility of parole. At least ten states have life sentences without the possibility of parole for 20, 25, 30 or 40 years, and at least 18 states have life sentences with no possibility of parole.
A recent U. S. Justice Department study of public attitudes about crime and punishment found that a majority of Americans support alternatives to capital punishment: When people were presented the facts about several crimes for which death was a possible punishment, a majority chose lengthy prison sentences as alternatives to the death penalty.
Maybe it used to happen that innocent people were mistakenly executed, but hasn't that possibility been eliminated? No. A study published in the Stanford Law Review documents 350 capital convictions in this century, in which it was later proven that the convict had not committed the crime. Of those, 25 convicts were executed while others spent decades of their lives in prison.
Our criminal justice system cannot be made fail-safe because it is run by human beings, who are fallible. Execution of innocent persons is bound to occur.
The death penalty is definitely needed because there needs to be an example made to those who commit crimes that they can not and will not get away with killing someone and walking off "Scot free" or spending the rest of there live in an institution paid by our tax dollars.
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Crime, Misconduct, Law, Capital punishment, Penology, Social policy, Murder, Capital punishment debate in the United States, Capital punishment in the United States
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