Pros And Cons Of Capital Punishment And The Death Penalty

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Is it still murder if its government sanctioned? Capital punishment or the death penalty is the execution of criminals who have committed capital crimes such as treason or first degree murder. It has been a highly debated topic in the United States for years; many fight over whether it should be used. The pro and con side both turn to the US Constitution for defending their arguments. State governments and the Supreme Court have both interpreted the Constitution differently, and its use is very inconsistent. (Capital Punishment) In the 1800s, capital punishment was the automatic punishment for those who committed murder or other large crimes such as horse theft. (Capital Punishment) State legislatures began to reject the automatic use of the …show more content…
(Capital Punishment) By the 1960s, the death penalty began to receive opposition, because similar cases were treated very differently and a host of other problems. The Supreme Court faced pressure to regulate capital punishment, but tried to detach itself from active regulating of the death penalty, causing execution rates to increase. (Capital Punishment) The Supreme Court decided that penalty hearings would be used to prevent random or racially biased sentences, where the prosecution and defense can give information about the defendant. (Capital Punishment) However, there are still many issues with the system. Those who are pro death penalty believe it deters crime, provides closure for victims, and is a fair punishment. The people who are against capital punishment argue that it is unconstitutional, has too high a risk for an innocent person being executed, costs much more than life in prison, the system has an unfair racial bias making it morally wrong, and a majority of the public is against it. Capital punishment should not be …show more content…
The reasoning for this is that humans are inherently afraid of death, thus discouraging people from committing capital crimes. This thought process does not take into account people with severe personality or mental disorders who do not have the emotional range to feel regret or empathy, or people who are committing crimes with connections to terrorist groups who believe they are working for a higher power. Still, people cling to the idea that the death penalty must be deterring crime. Ernest Van Den Haag, PhD, claims that with common sense it is easy to tell that the death penalty will deter crime rates. People in prison fear death much more than they fear life, since criminals prefer a life sentence to a death sentence. (qtd.in"Top 10 Pros and Cons") Is there any factual evidence to support this, though? With the data of around 3,000 counties, Emory Professors, Hashem Dezhbakhsh, Paul H. Rubin, and Joanna M. Shepherd concluded that for every execution, there were 18 less murders from 1977 to 1996. (Muhlhausen) How they came to this conclusion is unclear. In the write-up of their experiment, ‘Does Capital Punishment Have a Deterrence Effect? New Evidence from Post-moratorium Panel Data’, it is merely stated that they “[examined] the deterrent effect of capital punishment using a system of simultaneous equations and county-level panel data that cover the post-moratorium period” without a

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