The Classic Deterrence Theory Of The Death Penalty
The deterrence theory was developed in the eighteenth century by philosophers who believed that humans control their behavior based on the perceived rewards and/or punishments that would result from such actions. The deterrence theorists believe that if punishment is severe, certain, and swift, a rational person will measure the gains and losses before engaging in crime and will be deterred from violating the law if the loss is greater than the gain.
Classical philosophers thought that certainty is more effective in preventing crimes than the severity of punishment. They rejected torture as a means of eliciting confessions, and the death penalty as an effective method for punishing murderers and perpetrators of other serious crimes.
The philosophers, believed the primary purpose of punishment is deterrence not vengeance. The deterrence theory relies on three individual components: severity, certainty, and celerity. The more severe a punishment, it is thought, the more likely that a rationally …show more content…
Studies have found that states without the death penalty have lower homicide rates than states with the death penalty. In addition, ten of the twelve states without the death penalty have homicide rates below the national average, whereas half of the states with the death penalty have homicide rates above. During the last 20 years, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 48% - 101% higher than in states without the death penalty. Some critics argue that in the past ten years, the number of executions in the U.S. has increased while the murder rate has
declined. Some commentators have maintained that the murder rate has dropped because of the increase in executions. However, during this decade the murder rate in non-death penalty states has remained consistently lower than the rate in states with the death