Is Death Penalty Effective

Is Death Penalty Effective

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Is Death Penalty Effective

The death penalty, also referred to as capital punishment, involves the offenders’ execution sentenced to death following the conviction by courts of law of particular criminal offenses. Although the terms death penalty and capital punishment are sometimes used interchangeably, Clark (2017) shows that the execution does not always follow the penalty. The proponents of death punishment argue that death punishment helps deter crime and fulfill other goals of punishment. However, death punishment opponents say that it is unethical, inhumane, and does not meet the punishment goals. There has been a lot of controversy regarding the imposition of the death penalty.

In the United States, death punishment has been restored since the year 1976. The number of approximately killed inmates was thirty in 2015 (Spitzberg et al. 2018). Most states that were affected were Virginia, Florida, Texas, and Missouri. It was said that two thousand nine hundred and eighty-four convicts were waiting on the death row (Spitzberg et al. 2018). For the last two decades, research has shown that Americans were in great support of punishment through death. The support has been seen to fall steadily with time though the majority of the republicans are in agreement with the act. The Democrats oppose this capital punishment and ask for its review (Spitzberg et al. 2018). Also, the issue of racial discrimination has been evident in many death penalties. African American people have become most victims of this punishment (Steiker et al. 2015).

Firstly, there is controversy concerning whether the death punishment helps in enhancing retribution. According to Villalobos (2020), the proponents of death punishment argue that it satisfies the principle of retribution when punishing severe offenses like murder. The proponents’ primary argument is that guilty individuals should be punished and that the punishments should proportional to the crime severity. These arguments are based on the belief that justice requires individuals to suffer for their wrongdoing and suffer in a manner that reflects their crimes. Retribution requires all offenders to face punishments that reflect their punishments. Therefore, in such cases, the most appropriate punishment for murder would be the death penalty. Chan et al. (2018) also show that the proponents of death punishment also argue that the courts should heed to the society’s cry for justice and judgments that befit various crimes. Steiker et al. (2019) show that capital punishment proponents often support their arguments with the biblical concept of “an eye for an eye.” However, Baumgartner et al. (2017) show that the idea is usually misinterpreted. The idea means that only the guilty should face punishments and that the sentences should neither be too lenient nor too severe. Most opponents of the death penalty argue that the penalty acts as vengeance somewhat instead of retribution, and it is a morally wrong concept. Also, Villalobos (2020) claims that the anticipatory suffering of the offenders who may sometimes be kept in a death row for too long awaiting their execution makes the punishment too severe, violating the principle of retribution the amount of penalty should reflect the crime.

Secondly, there are dilemmas regarding whether the death penalty acts as a deterrence against murder and other serious crimes. The death penalty proponents argue that executing convicted murders would instill fear and prevent other peoples from committing similar crimes. However, Steiker et al. (2019) argue that there is no significant correlation between the death penalty and murder deterrence. Also, Chan et al. (2018), some of the executed individuals could not be prevented from engaging in similar crimes due to mental defects and illness. According to Clark (2017), some murders are committed in very emotional states that contain the offenders from thinking about the consequences of their acts, hence previous execution of the convicted criminals cannot deter such crimes. Also, there are doubts about whether the death penalty deters crimes more than life imprisonment. The opponents of the death penalty argue that the anticipatory period before the convicted criminals’ execution minimizes the death punishment’s deterrent effect. Villalobos (2020) indicates that a long gap between the crime and the punishment, either by certainty or time, nullifies the punishments’ deterrent effect. Also, capital punishment’s deterrent effect would be more significant if the punishments were executed in public places and in a humiliating way. However, convicted criminals are always perpetrated in private places and relatively painless methods that use drugs and injections, reducing the criminals’ deterrent effects. However, some proponents of the death penalty argue that the sentence is effective even if it fails to satisfy the punishment’s deterrent goal. For instance, Steiker et al. (2019) argue that executing murderers helps reduce their number, hence decreasing the murder of innocent individuals.

Rehabilitation is another crucial goal of punishment. Clark (2017) shows that rehabilitation involves changing a criminal’s behavior to mold them into legally abiding citizens of society. However, the death penalty does not allow the rehabilitation of the offenders’ behaviors and returning them to the community. The proponents of death punishment argue that the penalty enables the criminals’ rehabilitation during the anticipatory periods. For instance, Villalobos (2020) indicates that some offenders use the anticipatory period to express remorse of their acts, repent, and undergo spiritual rehabilitation before their execution. However, the argument does not support capital punishment but seeks to prove that capital punishment can lead to rehabilitation.

The death penalty proponents also argue that the penalty prevents reoffending since the executed criminals cannot kill again; however, the opponents of the penalty dispute this argument by providing other punishment methods for offenders from society. The proponents of the death punishment counter this argument by arguing that although there are minimal cases, some people escape from the prison and kills again, hence necessitating the death penalty. The proponents of capital punishment also argue that although the imprisonment without parole prevents the society from the threats caused by the convicted murderers, the murders are a significant threat to the prison police and the staffs. Therefore, the best way of preventing the reoccurrence of murder offenses would-be offenders’ execution.

Some proponents of the death penalty argue that it acts as an incentive to help police in their investigations. Baumgartner et al. (2017) show that plea bargaining is used to support the police in their investigation in most countries. The process enables the prisoners to get a reduced jail term if they agree to collaborate with the police in digging more evidence. Clark (2017) indicates that when the death penalty is the most probable punishment, the prisoners are more willing to collaborate with the police officers to reduce their punishments, at least to life imprisonment. However, Villalobos (2020) argues that using the death penalty to fetch for evidence from individuals is torture and should be never be tolerated.

According to Chan et al. (2018), the death penalty is also used for psychological benefit. For instance, Clark (2017) shows that the penalty usually symbolizes that bad things happen to people who deserve them in Japan. Also, Villalobos (2020) also shows bad things happening to people who deserve them, reinforce the contrary view that good things happen to those who deserve them, creating a psychological effect that makes people feel rewards for good deeds, hence fostering hard work and other values.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is massive controversy on the effectiveness of the death penalty in averting crimes. The proponents of the death penalty serve various principles of the punishments including the deterrence, retribution, sacrificial rehabilitation, avoids reoccurrence of crimes, makes the prisoners collaborate with the police in various investigations in exchange with a reduced jail term, and reinforces psychological believes that fosters hard work and lead a good life. However, the opponents of the death punishment do jot exhaustively serves the punishment goals. Death penalties fail to provide a chance for offenders’ rehabilitation and do not enhance retribution and deterrence against crime. Proponents of death punishment also argue that although the police use the penalty in doing their investigations in exchange for reduced jail term. However, the penalty acts as the offender’s humiliation to produce some evidence, amounting to torture. In general, the death penalty is unethical, and it fails to satisfy all the punishment goals. The NGOs, public, and other stakeholders should continue advocating for the complete removal of the death penalty, considering ethical consideration and respect for human dignity.

References

Baumgartner, F., Davidson, M., Johnson, K., Krishnamurthy, A., & Wilson, C. (2017). Deadly Justice: A statistical portrait of the death penalty. Oxford University Press.

Chan, W. C., Tan, E. S., Lee, J. T. T., & Mathi, B. (2018). How strong is public support for the death penalty in Singapore?. Asian journal of criminology, 13(2), 91-107.

Clark, R. (2017). To Abolish the Death Penalty. In Capital Punishment (pp. 176-180). Routledge.

Steiker, C. S., & Steiker, J. M. (2019). The American Death Penalty: Alternative Model for Ordinary Criminal Justice or Exception that Justifies the Rule? New Criminal Law Review, 22(4), 359-390.

Villalobos, A. (2020). Countering Pro-Death Penalty Attitudes.

Ye, X., Sharag-Eldin, A., Spitzberg, B., & Wu, L. (2018). Analyzing public opinions on death penalty abolishment. Chinese Sociological Dialogue, 3(1), 53-75.

Steiker, C. S., & Steiker, J. M. (2015). The American death penalty and the (in) visibility of race. The University of Chicago Law Review, 243-294.

Is Death Penalty Effective

Citation:

Baumgartner, F., Davidson, M., Johnson, K., Krishnamurthy, A., & Wilson, C. (2017). Deadly Justice: A statistical portrait of the death penalty. Oxford University Press.

Annotation:

The authors in their book try to bring out a bigger picture of the death penalty. They suggest that retribution is not enough evidence for capital punishment. They bring up questions on how the punishment could be made proportionate and given to the worst offenders. Also, they suggest that a limit should be kept on the number of crimes to which the death penalty is to be given.

Citation:

Chan, W. C., Tan, E. S., Lee, J. T. T., & Mathi, B. (2018). How strong is public support for the death penalty in Singapore?. Asian journal of criminology, 13(2), 91-107.

Annotation:

The article studies the strength of public support for the death penalty in Singapore. It states that Singapore is well known for use using the death penalty for drug trafficking and murder cases. Singapore makes the death penalty mandatory but later amended for the judge to give an option of life imprisonment. The article reports on findings that assess knowledge and support of the death penalty.

Citation:

Steiker, C. S., & Steiker, J. M. (2015). The American death penalty and the (in) visibility of race. The University of Chicago Law Review, 243-294.

Annotation:

This article talks about the American death penalty and racial discrimination in the ruling. The authors say that racial injustice is common in American criminal justice and this causes suffering to most black Americans as they become victims. The article details how the blacks were mistreated during the civil war and how the Supreme court avoided racism.

Citation:

Steiker, C. S., & Steiker, J. M. (2019). The American Death Penalty: Alternative Model for Ordinary Criminal Justice or Exception that Justifies the Rule? New Criminal Law Review, 22(4), 359-390.

Annotation:

This article looks at the alternative models for the ordinary criminal justice system. The authors state that the Supreme Court has come up with a substitute justice system limited to capital cases. This includes; proportionality in sentence outcomes, the requirement of individualized sentencing, and regulating the defense counsel. These regulations were set under the statement that ‘death is different.’

Citation:

Villalobos, A. (2020). Countering Pro-Death Penalty Attitudes.

Annotation:

In this article, the authors suggest that the death penalty has been the main issue in many prisons. The authors tested two methods regarding how they would change the minds of individuals towards the death penalty. They tested the innocent-risk argument that suggests that there is greater risk in killing someone innocent. They then tested the deterrence-risk argument that states that the death penalty is not the best way to handle a capital offense. They found out that the innocent-risk situation increased the probability of reducing death penalty attitudes.

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