Death Penalty and Its Effect on Crime Rate

Today, the issue of capital punishment is probably one of the most topical and not only for areas such as criminal code or legal justice but also for subjects like philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Capital punishment is a moral issue, and it is rather thought-provoking for those interested in ascertaining that killing criminals instead of giving them a life-sentence is a more effective measure.

The issue of capital punishment is so debatable that a unanimous decision may not be reached even within one country such as the US. While it is still a punitive measure in some of the states, others condemn and vote against it. The main question that needs to be answered lies not in the expenses that the government spends to keep a criminal in a detention facility for a life-time, it is rather: does a death penalty deter and lead to the decline in crimes? Criminologists were attempting to ascertain that death penalty, in reality, brought the murder rate down. In 1973, a new type of analysis was used by Isaac Ehrlich, according to him, every criminal who was executed spared the lives of 7 innocent people because other potential criminals were deterred from crimes fearing that punishment may sooner or later find them (Michigan State University and Death Penalty Information Center, 2000).

His studies might be inconclusive because some countries or states in the US may take years before the death penalty is imposed. Immediate punishments serve as a most effective measure against crime. However, hurrying with the punishment to deter other criminals has its costs because a hasty verdict may result in conviction of an innocent person.

I believe that Death Penalty needs to be a federal decision instead of a state issue as it is now. Firstly, the fact that Death Penalty is imposed in some states but not in others is not based on moral principles or issues of human dignity. This divergence is easily explained from a historical perspective. Death Penalty was primarily prevalent in the Southern States to tackle crimes committed by slaves (Mandery, 2012). It was essential to keep slaves under control and death penalty was common as a punitive measure. However, if one were to research death penalties imposed in the Southern States, the racial prejudice would instantly come to surface. Punishment for similar crimes differed for slaves and their white owners (Mandery, 2012). In my opinion, the justice system needs to be reconsidered in the Southern States and aligned with the rest of the US. I believe that it must be a federal decision.

I believe that Death Penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment which is in direct violation of the 6th amendment of the constitution. Imposing Death Penalty implies following the bible concept of ‘eye for an eye’ Taking a criminal’s life means descending to his level. Offenders, whether we want it or not, are part of our society and it is our job to deal with them. If they chose the slippery path of a criminal, it is the fault of the community that allowed this to happen. Many offenders partake in crimes because they do not see another way for themselves. Social injustice and inequality pushes them to protest against community and kills their hope in humanity. I believe that crime is primarily a social problem and unless the entire society contributes, we may not hope to curb it.

Works Cited

Mandery, Evan J. Capital Punishment In America: A Balanced Examination, Burlington, Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2012. Print.

Michigan State University and Death Penalty Information Center, Arguments for and Against the Death Penalty. 2010. Web.

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