Death Penalty Essay

Submitted By tomcatboss
Words: 737
Pages: 3

Death Penalty Since our nation's founding, colonial, federal and state governments have punished murder and, until recent years, rape with the ultimate sanction: the death penalty. There are murders everyday across America, which is the problem, the death penalty was first commonly used to kill murderers and by doing so, the goal was to deter future murders. Has it worked? The death penalty dates back as far as the 17th Century. The first laws that were made regarding the death penalty did not come into play until the 18th Century. They were first used by King Hammurabi of Babylon. This code covered 25 different crimes that he believed deserved the death penalty. More than 13,000 people have been legally executed since colonial times, most of them in the early 20th Century. By the 1930s, as many as 150 people were executed each year. However, public outrage and legal challenges caused the process to slow down. By 1972, capital punishment had virtually halted in the United States, pending the outcome of Furman v. Georgia (1972), when the Supreme Court outlawed capital punishment, from 1967 to 1980, there were almost no executions in the U. S.; the homicide rate increased dramatically from 5% in 1963 to almost 10% in 1973. About this time, the death penalty was outlawed; the homicide rates decreased until about 1978. The death penalty was reinstated in 1978 and executions were resumed in the early 1980s; the homicide rates stayed nearly constant even after that. Deterrence is a theory from behavioral psychology about preventing or controlling actions or behavior through fear of punishment or retribution. Hoping that having the death penalty in affect will prevent other murders from taking place in the first place. There have been studies that date to the 60’s attempting to track if having the death penalty deters people from committing murders. Between 65-70% of Americans are for the death penalty in cases where murder is committed.
For years, criminologists have analyzed murder rates to see if they have changed with convicted murderers being executed, but the results were inconclusive. Then in 1973 Isaac Ehrlich employed a new kind of analysis which showed results that for every inmate who was executed, 7 lives were “saved” because others were deterred from committing murder. History is now repeating itself. In the past five years, a new wave of a dozen or more studies have appeared reporting deterrent effects of capital punishment that go well beyond Ehrlich's findings. The estimates of the deterrent effects are far greater, ranging from three to 32 murders deterred for each execution. Some researchers argue that even murders of passion, among the most irrational of lethal crimes, can be deterred. One study, by student Professor Zhiqiang Liu, claims that executions not only deter murders, but they also increase the deterrent effects of other punishments such as mandatory minimum