Essays academic service

The reasons why death penalty is a necessary evil in the american society

Is the Death Penalty a Necessary Evil? Unger January 5, Capital punishment is not a significant cause of death among the US population of more than million. More Americans are killed annually by lightning strikes, an average of roughly 74, than the approximately 45 who are executed. But the principles involved are important and the controversy is heated. For a brief history, see [McFeely]. Arguments for and against the death penalty involve both theoretical and practical considerations.

What would be best in an ideal world might not be acceptable in the one we live in. What are the arguments for and against capital punishment? The Case for Capital Punishment Many believe that the possibility of winding up on death row is a powerful argument against committing a capital crime i. The last execution in the US for a crime other than homicide, in this case, robbery, occurred in If indeed the death penalty is a significantly stronger deterrent than the usual alternative, life in prison, then a case could be made that the existence of the death penalty is likely to save more lives than it takes, and that the lives saved are likely to be those of innocent people.

If there is good reason to believe that a particular convicted murderer might kill again, given the chance, then the alternative to execution would be a long, perhaps lifetime, prison sentence, to protect the general public. For such people, costly prisons are the reasons why death penalty is a necessary evil in the american society, and it is necessary to have prison guards whose working lives are spent in proximity to very dangerous individuals.

In effect, for each killer so sentenced, we are sentencing prison guards as well. If not needed for such work, these guards might serve society in other useful and less onerous occupations. In primitive societies lacking formal mechanisms for apprehending and punishing criminals, it is common for families, or broader kinship groups, to try to avenge the killing of members. This is generally undesirable as it can lead to endless cycles of killing.

An important function of a criminal justice system is to head off such reactions. But, in the case of particularly horrific murders, the families of the victims sometimes feel that anything short of death would be grossly inadequate punishment. So the death penalty might be considered as satisfying the need for justice, or, in some cases, vengeance, on the part of people who lose loved ones to brutal killers.

The Case Against Capital Punishment The deliberate taking of life by a government acting as an agent of the people sets a bad example. It constitutes an exception to, and hence a weakening of, the rule against killing people. Apart from any theoretical arguments, the actual history of capital punishment in the US does not make pleasant reading.

  • It makes it easier for people to decide, under quite different circumstances, that some other argument also justifies killing;
  • Let's look at this question in more detail;
  • There are currently about people on death row in the US;
  • It is not unusual in the course of such an event for a resisting proprietor to be shot dead, even tho the robber did not enter the store with that intent.

Despite repeated efforts at reform, it is clear that our judicial system, at all levels, does a very poor job adjudicating capital cases. It isn't all that great for non-capital cases, but in these the cost of erroneous convictions is not so great and irreversible. During the period from toan average of 5 death row inmates per year were exonerated, an increase over past years [DPIC-1]. This may be only the tip of the iceberg.

In most jurisdictions, there is substantial resistance on the part of prosecutors and judges to conceding that serious errors are made in such cases. It takes great efforts to win such appeals, even where the grounds for reversal are very solid.

In many cases, successful appeals were based on DNA evidence clearly indicating that the defendant was not guilty. Suppressed evidence, recanting witnesses, or witnesses improperly pressured and coached by the prosecution were shown, in many cases, to have caused erroneous convictions. Grossly inadequate defense is a major cause. Quality of counsel is a critical factor in capital cases. The defense of those in low income brackets is generally in the hands of court appointed attorneys or PDs public defenders.

  • They are generally that way starting in childhood, often causing grief to many, and there are no known ways of "curing" them;
  • I'm not bugging on that one, you all can make ur own choices and ans to Jesus.

PDs are often inexperienced, usually greatly overworked, and are seldom able to devote adequate time and energy to their clients' needs.

Sometimes a high quality attorney is assigned to, or volunteers to, defend a poor person, but most court appointees are not very effective. On the other hand, when wealthy people are charged, they hire teams of top notch lawyers and investigators. Eminent expert witnesses are called upon as needed. Note that even most middle income people would have a hard time paying for an adequate legal defense. Lawes, Sing Sing prison warden for 21 years, supervised executions of prisoners.

He strongly opposed the death penalty. He is quoted as saying,"Did you ever see a rich man go the whole route through to the Death House? I don't know of any.

Altho racial bias is not generally as blatant as it was a half century ago, it is by no means absent from our judicial system.

Blacks, in particular, are still victims of bias in court rooms, and not just in the South [Radio]. This has been shown in appeals of a number of capital cases. A sickening example of systematic bias is a training video used to teach new Philadelphia prosecutors how to choose "unfair" jurors, with emphasis on excluding blacks, particularly black women [Tabak].

Prison personnel who have to participate in the actual execution of convicts, dragging them into the death chamber, strapping them onto a table, etc. A Closer Look at Deterrence Where the death penalty has been ruled out, the maximum sentence for murder is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. A critical question is the annual number of murders that are deterred by the difference between the penalties.

It is very difficult to determine this number.

The reasons why death penalty is a necessary evil in the american society

If a state A, with the death penalty, has a lower murder rate than state B without the death penalty, does this mean that the death penalty successfully deterred many potential killers in A, or does B simply have many more murderous inhabitants than A? For example, the homicide rate murders perinhabitants per year for Texas, by far the leading state in executions, is usually less than that for Michigan, which does not have the death penalty, but it is consistently higher than that for Maine, which also does not have capital punishment.

The average homicide rates for those states that have the death penalty consistently exceed, by a substantial margin, the rate for those without it e. While this fact does not prove anything, it does suggest that the reasons why death penalty is a necessary evil in the american society death penalty is not a powerful deterrent. Apart from statistics, we might just ask, as a matter of common sense, how effective capital punishment is likely to be as a deterrent.

At first glance, it might seem obvious that the possibility of a death sentence would strongly discourage trigger pulling.

But actually, psychologists generally consider the prospect of quick, certain punishment to be much more effective in influencing behavior than remote, uncertain punishment, even if the latter is much more severe. Capital punishment, tho obviously the most severe, is clearly very far from being prompt and certain.

Let's look at this question in more detail. Consider a common crime such as a liquor store robbery. It is not unusual in the course of such an event for a resisting proprietor to be shot dead, even tho the robber did not enter the store with that intent. In such cases, where a homicide is an unintended side effect of another crime, there is not much opportunity for deterrence to have an effect.

Murders committed in the heat of passion, or where the killer is out of control, perhaps due to alcohol or drugs, are not likely to be prevented by thoughts of possible extreme punishment.

The kinds of people, often very young, involved in highly dangerous activities such as gang wars, or the drug trade, where killing is a common occurrence, are also highly unlikely to worry about possible remote consequences of their actions. Nor, for very different reasons, are killers involved with organized crime. Where a homicide is carefully planned, for example a spousal killing to collect life insurance, the murderer, who expects to evade detection, does not consider the consequences of failure.

So, again, deterrence is not likely to come into play. It is hard to think of a plausible situation where someone would commit murder despite the possible penalty of life in prison, but would back off this action if there was, in addition, a very much lower probability of being executed. Murder by the Wealthy I'm sure that the number of wealthy people committing murder in the course of armed robbery is vanishingly small.

But I would guess that killing a spouse in a jealous rage is something that rich people are about as likely to do as middle class or poor people. The same might be said about murders committed under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Wealthy people might also be motivated to kill for financial reasons, e. Let's define the super-rich as those in the top one thousandth of the population by wealth.

In general, with the exception of street crime and hold-ups which account for about a quarter of all homicidesthere is no evidence that rich people are significantly less likely than other people to commit murder under similar circumstances. Let's generously assume they commit murder at half the rate other people do. There are, roughly, 15, US homicides annually; assume half of them result in convictions.

When is the last time you heard about such a case? Major the reasons why death penalty is a necessary evil in the american society causing the deaths of many innocent people, which can only be committed by wealthy people, are rarely subjects of criminal investigations and prosecution.

For example, there are high level executives of tobacco companies who, in years past, deliberately suppressed data that clearly indicated the deadly effects of cigarette smoking, and consciously launched advertising campaigns to persuade young people to smoke. This resulted in untold numbers of deaths. Despite extensive investigations, which produced voluminous evidence of wrong doing, none of these executives were ever tried for any crime.

Weighing the Arguments Philosophical arguments about the desirability of such institutions as capital punishment can't properly be settled by pointing out how they are resolved elsewhere in the world, but nevertheless such information can be interesting and might stimulate deeper thought.

In the case of capital punishment, the US occupies a strange position internationally. All European countries have abolished this practice, and there have been no executions in the Western Hemisphere outside our borders since Many Western Hemisphere countries still have capital punishment on the law books, but rarely use it. For example, altho the death penalty is still a legal option in Jamaica, the last execution there occurred in Should we be proud to be members of this distinguished top-ten club?

Within the US, 16 states have abolished the death penalty. But, altho people currently approve of the death penalty by a margin of nearly two to one, they are almost evenly split when asked to choose between the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole, and only about a third believe that the death penalty deters murder [Gallup].

Over the past decade the murder rate, the death sentence rate, and the execution rate have all been falling. There were 75 death sentences passed and 43 executions in There are currently about people on death row in the US.

Most death row inmates, as a result of appeals, are eventually resentenced to life in prison, some receive shorter sentences, many die of natural causes, some by suicide.

The reasons why death penalty is a necessary evil in the american society

Some are acquitted on appeal. On average, those executed live on death row for about 14 years. There are people, fortunately very few, who are so vicious as to constitute a continual threat to the lives and well being of all who come in contact with them. They are generally that way starting in childhood, often causing grief to many, and there are no known ways of "curing" them. Many psychopaths are crafty people with winning personalities, which makes them even more dangerous.