Introduction I am 100 % against the death penalty. However, I chose to take a look at the views of why some would be in favor of the death penalty. When researching the death penalty in the United States, I noticed that opinions vary mainly by political views. Depending on their location, politicians use it as a poly to win elections. Conservatives would argue the death penalty is a punishment that fits the crime of murder; it is neither ‘cruel nor unusual.’ Executing a murderer is appropriate for taking an innocent life. Liberals would argue the death penalty should be abolished. It is inhumane and is ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment. Imprisonment is the appropriate punishment for murder, every execution risks killing an innocent person. (Student daily News 2005; 1). Texas is a conservative state and has executed 510 people (1982-2014), out of more than 1,300 executions nationwide since 1977. Texas accounted for 42% of U.S. executions in 2013 which is twice as many as any other state. (TCADP; 1) Whereas, if you were to go to a more liberal state such as Maine, you would hear politicians promote rehabilitation of offenders, not the death penalty. Realizing the different ideas that people have on crime and punishment is often used to a politician’s advantage. In actuality, the issue is based more on an individual’s lack of knowledge in regards to the facts of the death penalty. People tend to base their opinions off of emotions rather than researching the facts (Ellsworth & Gross 1994). In this paper, I will reach to examine different aspects of the death penalty starting with support polls and deterrence. In my finishing statements, I will speak to cost of the death penalty versus moral obligations.
Support Polls The support of the citizens is what any law or punishment has to have to survive in this country.
If we as a society think a punishment is too strict or lenient, they will seek to change it. There has been much controversy in regards to the death penalty, some argue it costs too much or is too permanent. There has always been concern about innocent people who have been executed. No one wants an innocent death on their conscience but when faced with things like a kidnapping, beating and then sexually assaulting a child and murdering the child after the fact, we then for moral reasons seek to get a harsh punishment. Some (conservatives) would argue, spending a double life sentence is not enough, while others (liberals) might have a different opinion. So we are always faced with this dilemma of what is enough and what goes too far, opinion polls are the best way to solve this debate; the opinions of citizens, not our lawmakers. According to Gallop they asked a question on an opinion poll that said; “Do you favor the death penalty for a person convicted of murder?” According to the percentage of people that were surveyed which was 3,091, 71% of those were in favor of the death penalty, 21% were not in favor, and 8% were uncertain. (Gallop 1986: 286) This is saying that the majority is in favor of someone dying due to the crimes they have committed but the crime has to be as harsh as the punishment. If one individual purposely murders another they should be subject to the harshest penalty, especially with any aggravating circumstances that may arise throughout that crime being committed.
We have punishments for crime because theoretically we want to use punishment as deterrence so offenders are less likely to offend again. “We threaten punishments in order to deter crime. We impose them not only to make threats credible, but also as retribution (justice) for the crimes that were not deterred.” (Van Den Haag 1986: 269) The problem with this is that we have overcrowding in prisons, and a very high recidivism rate, which results in only the worst of the worst are sentenced to an extended stay at a Prison. We