May, 4 2015
Use of Capital Punishment
Capital punishment has been a subject of great debate for years within our country. Both sides of the fence feel very strongly when it comes to their opinions of capital punishment. This form of punishment has been around for years and is very unlikely to go away. There is no way you will be able to satisfy both sides of the fence because we do not live in a perfect world. However, there are a few reasons why we still need capital punishment and a few ways to make the system better. Capital punishment is a highly debated topic in the world since many people see it as wrong, thus one must consider its deterrence, cost, and effectiveness before choosing to support it.
One of the main arguments supporters of capital punishment have is that it deters from crime. Capital punishment was ruled as constitutional in 1976 by the U.S. Supreme Court, and since then deterrence has been used as one of the main points among debates (Sheperd, 2005). Sheperd, used a wide range of years to test this theory out and see if it was indeed true. While the results didn’t give a big edge to whether it acted as a deterrent or not, it did show there was some affects in certain states. The numbers are skewed, but it shows in half of the Southern states the murder rate is at a 5% drop compared to states without the death penalty. It is easy to see that there is no way to stop murders from happening, but it is unclear as to whether there is any other way beyond the death penalty to try to deter people from committing such crimes.
In the U.S. we have been faced with the problem of overcrowding prisons, many of which have inmates waiting on death row for years. The number of inmates and cost to keep them up continue to rise, “the projected 192,023 new prisoners—leave aside the current population of more than 1.5 million inmates—could cost as much as $27.5 billion”(“Public safety, Public Spending,”2007). This is a staggering amount of money that our government is spending, much of which could be cut by using capital punishment more frequently. There have been cases that have been appealed multiple times only to be denied every time. With multiple appeals more money is spent on appointed lawyers and more money spent to continue to keep a convicted killer alive. By eliminating the amount of appeals it could keep from spending unnecessary dollars on pointless things. With the use of some of these methods we can begin to cut the amount of money spent on our prison systems and maybe begin to see a change in our economy.
There are many non-supporters of the death penalty who say “there are too many cases where innocent people get put to death”. While this is something that has happened, and is very unfortunate, there has also been work by many states to have protocols in place to prevent it. The states of Missouri and Illinois both put a similar law in to affect stating “provides the Illinois Supreme Court with greater power to throw out unjust verdicts in death penalty cases, bars the prosecutor from bringing the death penalty into cases based on a single witness, includes the opinion of the trial judge in the death penalty appeals process, provides death penalty defendants more access to pre-trial evidence, and heightens disclosure procedures in which