The Effects Of The Death Penalty On Violent Crime

The death penalty has been a contested topic in the western world. Many countries still favour the death penalty including China and the United States of America. In theory, the death penalty should deter people from committing crimes that the criminals were executed for. Public executions should create fear and an ultimate deterrent effect; it should make people question their actions before committing a crime. If the death penalty could deter people from committing certain crimes than the rates for those crimes should be low.
I will explore the deterring effect of the death penalty and whether or not it makes a difference homicide rates. I will argue that the death penalty does not play a significant deterrent effect on violent crime. In
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- Earlier research examined the relationship between the death penalty and murder rates were flawed, they included arbitrary variables (Bailey, 1983) (Passell & Taylor, 1977) o I will use their Bailey, Passell and Taylor’s evidence to show that pervious studies were not empirically correct o I will use Passell’s and Taylor’s evidence to show how an effective study can be obtained
- Bailey’s research found that certainty of punishment does play a significant role in whether or not murder is committed, however he notes that the type of punishment used is insignificant, it is the certainty of arrest that plays the biggest factor o I will use Bailey’s research to argue that it isn’t the type of punishment that is given that deters the murder; it is the certainty of arrest punishment that deters murder (Bailey,
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The research conducted proved that there no long term benefits of the death penalty (Phillips, 1980).
- Phillips’ suggests that there are only short-term benefits of the death penalty, only lasting weeks prior after publicized execution has taken place (Phillips, 1980).
- Phillips research also suggests that the only way for the execution to remain symbolically deterring is the amount of publicity the case attracts, the more attention given to the case the more the lower the homicide rate (Phillips, 1980). o I will use this research to argue that the death penalty is not a reliant form of deterrence. It is merely a short-term fix and cannot be relied on in the long run. o I will use Phillips’ research to illustrate that after the effect of the execution has worn out, the homicide rate returns to what it was pervious to the execution. Further proving that the effects of the death penalty are marginal and temporary in the grand scheme.
- Zeisel’s comment and study further proves that the deterrent effect is an illusion. Zeisel acknowledges the shortcomings of all studies that try to capture a deterring effect of the death penalty (Zeisel,

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