A Persuasive Essay On The Death Penalty

When someone hear the word Death,do they feel empty,lost or terrified at the same time? Or is it the opposite? Would they rejoice or celebrate? We wouldn’t know. Most of everyone would probably feel the first sentence and only the oppress would feel the second statement. Death is defined as the action or fact of dying or being killed In short,it is the end of a person’s life or an organism. Associated with death is the word Life. Life is sacred to all beings especially humans due to our intellect and skills which other organisms doesn’t have. In the eyes of God,we are his masterpiece,we are his children which means we need to take care one another. But,what is happening right now? Violence and destruction have succumb the world. Crime rates have been increasing rapidly,wars have overtaken the earth11 and thus humanity is slowly disappearing in front of our own eyes. In order to stop this,the government and states come up with variety of solutions and the most popular and debatable solution is the Death Penalty. Defined by U.S. Legal,death penalty is the sentence of execution for murder and some other capital crimes (serious crimes, especially murder, which are punishable by death). The death penalty, or capital punishment, may be prescribed by Congress or any state legislature for murder and other capital crimes. According to Amnesty International, as of July 2015, 101 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes in law, while 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. From the same source,58 countries still continue the practice of Death Penalty. Criminals have done hideous crimes in their life but it doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to live. Permitting death penalty in one’s country doesn’t end or decrease the crime rates that might be happening right now in someone’s country. Death Penalty should be completely abolished in our society owing to the fact that it doesn’t decrease crime rates,costs a lot of money and puts innocent lives at risk.


The first and foremost reason why some people approve death penalty is to decrease the crime rates of their country. If it is implemented by the government,the society would feel afraid to commit a crime thus stopping them from doing malicious acts that can harm or end someone’s life. There is no evidence that posits the use of the death penalty as being causal to a reduction in crime. According to the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, the murder rate for the state of North Carolina actually declined following a halt in utilizing execution as a form of punishment. The coalition also points out that most people on death row committed their crimes in the heat of passion, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while suffering from mental illness. They represent a group that is highly unlikely to make rational decisions based on a fear of future consequences for their actions. In addition,states without the death penalty have a lower murder rate than neighboring states with the death penalty implemented. The US had a 2012 murder rate of 4.8 victims per 100,000—meaning that nearly 15,000 people were victims of homicide that year. Capital punishment does not appear to be doing its job. If it does not dissuade, then it serves no purpose. The threat of life in prison without parole must equally dissuade criminals.

Second reason why Death penalty must be abolished is that it costs a lot of money. The cost of the death penalty as opposed to a life sentence without parole is exponential. Due to the extra measures taken in judicial proceedings, lawyer fees, extended trials, and expert witnesses, costs end up being higher. According to the Oregonian, in 1995 the trials for three Washington County murder cases cost more than $1.5 million. One was sentenced to death. In 2000 a fiscal impact summary from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services stated that the Oregon Judicial Department would save $2.3 million annually if the death penalty were eliminated. It is estimated that total prosecution and defense costs to the state and counties equal $9 million per year. It is a total waste of effort,time and money to kill someone. This money should have been donated or spend to someone who deserves it rather than to a criminal whom can be punish by a life sentence without a parole.

And the last reason,it puts innocent lives at risk. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the United States in 1976, 138 innocent men and women have been released from death row, including some who came within minutes of execution. Many of these cases were discovered not because of the normal appeals process, but rather as a result of new scientific techniques, investigations by journalists, and the dedicated work of expert attorneys. In Missouri, Texas and Virginia investigations have been opened to determine if those states executed innocent men. To execute an innocent person is morally reprehensible; this is a risk we cannot take. This is the most alarming reason why I oppose death penalty. Imagine if someone was already dead and it turns out later that he/she is completely innocent,there will be no turning point. An innocent life has already taken and the victim’s family would suffer 10 more upon hearing their love one has executed and was completely innocent.

We have all the right reason to live. May it be a criminal,a priest or just an ordinary person. Criminals especially murderers have been tortured and killed multiple times. They have have commit a hideous crime,it doesn't mean that we have to hurt them or kill them also. According to Mahatma,Gandhi,an eye for an eye turns the world blind. We are all familiar with this quotation,if someone hits me then I would hit them too. If we use this system all the time then there won’t be a need for us to implement laws for we are already following our own conscience,it doesn't matter if we are right or wrong. In this world,nobody is perfect which means we all have our own flaws and mistakes. The best way to make up to the people whom we have hurt or may have hurt us ,we need first to accept our faults and forgive our own selves. If we are still being a hard headed person then we wouldn't have our own inner peace again. We should also forgive others,do not hold any grudges and let God decides the punishment for them. Death penalty is not a solution to end crimes and for the other problems of our society. Death Penalty should be completely abolished in our society owing to the fact that it doesn’t decrease crime rates,costs a lot of money and puts innocent lives at risk.

Capital Punishment Essay: Benefits of the Death Penalty

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The Benefits of the Death Penalty


Crime is everywhere. Wherever we look, we find criminals and crime. Criminals have become a part of our daily lives. Does this mean we let them be the darkness of our society? No, definitely not. Eliminating crime and criminals is our duty, and we cannot ignore it. Getting the rightly accused to a just punishment is very important. Some criminals commit a crime because they have no other option to survive, but some do it for fun. I do not advocate death penalty for everybody. A person, who stole bread from a grocery store, definitely does not deserve death penalty. However, a serial killer, who kills people for fun or for his personal gain, definitely deserves death penalty. Death penalty should continue in order to eliminate the garbage of our society. Not everybody deserves to die, but some people definitely do. I support death penalty because of several reasons. Firstly, I believe that death penalty serves as a deterrent and helps in reducing crime. Secondly, it is true that death penalty is irreversible, but it is hard to kill a wrongly convicted person due to the several chances given to the convicted to prove his innocence. Thirdly, death penalty assures safety of the society by eliminating these criminals. Finally, I believe in "lex tallionis" - a life for a life.

Deterrence means to punish somebody as an example and to create fear in other people for the punishment. Death penalty is one of those extreme punishments that would create fear in the mind of any sane person. Ernest van den Haag, in his article "On Deterrence and the Death Penalty" mentions, "One abstains from dangerous acts because of vague, inchoate, habitual and, above all, preconscious fears" (193). Everybody fears death, even animals. Most criminals would think twice if they knew their own lives were at stake. Although there is no statistical evidence that death penalty deters crime, but we have to agree that most of us fear death. Suppose there is no death penalty in a state and life imprisonment without parole is the maximum punishment. What is stopping a prisoner who is facing a life imprisonment without parole to commit another murder in the prison? According to Paul Van Slambrouck, " Assaults in prisons all over US, both against fellow inmates and against staff, have more than doubled in the past decade, according to statistics gathered by the Criminal Justice Institute in Middletown, Connecticut" (Christian Science Monitor, Internet).

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There is no stopping these inmates from committing further crimes within the prison, if they are already facing the maximum punishment. Anti-death penalty advocates argue that imprisonment itself could deter criminals. They believe that we do not need to go to the extreme measure of killing the criminals to deter crime. Hugo Adam Bedau in his article, "Capital Punishment and Social Defense" mentions, "Crimes can be deterred only by making would-be criminals frightened of being arrested, convicted, and punished for crimes& " (301). Unfortunately, the ever-increasing population in the prisons proves otherwise. Somehow, just imprisonment is not enough for some people to stop them from committing a crime. The number of criminals is increasing every year. In 1990, there were 42,733 prisoners in Alaska, whereas in 1999 it increased to 68,599 (Death Penalty USA Pages, Internet). Some criminals may think that they would never be caught, and just keep committing crimes. The perfect example for this would be serial killers. For such people, death penalty should be there, so that others, who even think about committing such crimes, learn a lesson that every criminal is eventually caught.

Anti-death penalty advocates believe that death penalty is irreversible and may become a cause of irreversible mistakes. Once a person has been sentenced to death and thus death penalty practiced, there is nothing that can be done to undo the punishment if the accused turns out to be innocent. I agree that death penalty is irreversible, but the chance of making a mistake in death penalty is extremely low. Death penalty is considered an extreme punishment and the judicial system takes a lot of care in finalizing the decision. There are several safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. For example, "Capital punishment may be imposed only when guilt is determined by clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts", "Anyone sentenced to death shall receive the right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction", etc. (Capital Punishment: Life or Death, Internet). There are several other privileges provided to the convicted that assure that death penalty is given to the rightly accused person. According to Haag, "Trials are more likely to be fair when life is at stake - the death penalty is probably less often unjustly inflicted than others" (192). Statistics reveal that there is far less number of death sentences than life imprisonment sentences without parole given out every year. According to Federal Justice Statistics, in 1998, there were approximately 5000 criminals sentenced to life imprisonment as opposed to 74 criminals sentenced to death (Internet). This shows that judicial system itself is very careful with death sentences. Even if we assume that there are chances that an innocent person is executed, it is the problem with the trial, not the punishment. "It is not the penalty - whether death or prison - which is unjust when inflicted on the innocent, but its imposition on the innocent", writes Haag (192). When an innocent person is sentenced to death, it is not the fault of the punishment itself, but the trial that led to this punishment. There have been cases in which a person has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, and then after several years, it was revealed that the person was innocent. No court or compensation in this world can return the horrifying years spent in the prison by that innocent person. If we stop giving life imprisonment sentences to criminals on this ground, then probably most of the criminals would be walking around free on the streets within ten to fifteen years. The fear and trust that the society has in the judicial system would be lost. The judicial system has minimized the chances of mistakes. It is almost impossible to sentence a wrongly accused person. Then, why cause death of several innocent victims just on the bleak assumption that some day we might make a mistake?

Incapacitating a person is "depriving s/he of the physical or intellectual power of natural il/legal qualifications" (Webster, 574). Death penalty is not advocated for all criminals. Those criminals, who commit murders during self-defense or during times of passion, do not deserve death penalty. However, those people who just do not seem to learn the lesson the first time, or those who kill for fun, definitely deserve death penalty. Defendants (murderers) are allowed to shield themselves from justice by pleading insanity. Insanity means a failure to respond to the usual sort of incentives in the usual ways. If insane people are completely unresponsive to incentives, then their profits serve no social purpose, thus leading to another beneficial factor of the death penalty. People who have no social purpose do not benefit society, culture of mankind, or the basic rules of humanity. For example: This drug related brain-damaged killer barely knew his own identity when he murdered a mother and her daughter in front of a 3 year old boy. When he was finished raping the females and performed their deaths, he move on to sexually molest the boy in which he then left him to die. The retarded man then pled insanity, got to stay in jail for 22 years, eating three square meals a day, sleeping on a mattress with a blanket in air conditioned comfort and having a roof over his head (Shapiro, 61). Where do we draw the line between mentally incapable and criminally insane? When are they going to learn to resume the responsibility for their actions? I am not saying that all mentally disabled people should be subject to death penalty because they are no good to the society. However, some people pose a great fatal danger to the society in such a cruel way as seen in the above example. In such cases, death penalty becomes crucial for the benefit of the society. I believe every criminal, no matter how cruel he is, should be given at least one chance to change himself/herself. Thus, I do not advocate death penalty for people who have performed only one murder. However, there have been cases in which people have committed several murders (e.g., serial killers), or have committed crime even after imprisonment. For such people, I advocate death penalty. There needs to be a limit to which society should put up to. If somebody does not understand that going around killing people is wrong, then I believe, that letting such people live is not only a great threat to the society, but also a great burden. Advocate of anti-death penalty, Adam Bedau, wrote, "Prevention by means of incapacitation occurs only if the executed criminal would have committed other crimes if he or she had not been executed and had been punished only in some less incapacitative way (e.g., by imprisonment)" (Capital Punishment and Social Defense, 301). If people commit a crime while facing an imprisonment sentence, then their sentence should be changed to death sentence, since it is evident that they are just habitual to committing crimes and are a constant threat to the society, including the other inmates.

Some people might think that death penalty is inhuman and barbarous, but ask those people who have lost their beloved or whose lives have been tied to a hospital bed because of some barbarous person. I am sure they would be very unhappy to see the person who ruined their lives just getting a few years of imprisonment or mere rehabilitation. Consider the example of the rapist and killer given above. Now, suppose the woman raped was your wife, sister, or daughter. How would you feel knowing that the person who ruined your family is calmly enjoying the benefits of an asylum and an air-conditioned room? Anti-death penalty supporters believe that death penalty is barbarous. Well! So is murder. Death penalty is not revenge. Rather, it is a matter of putting an end to a life that has no value for other human lives. Sentencing a murderer to death is in fact a favor to the society. Despite the moral argument concerning the inhumane treatment of the criminal, we return to the "nature" of the crime committed. Can society place an unequal weight on the tragically lost lives of murder victims and the criminal? This is not an exam question in a college philosophy course but a moral conundrum at the core of perhaps the most intriguing issue facing the U. S. Supreme Court today. Punishment is meted out because of the nature of the crime, devoid of any reference to the social identity of the victim. In "The Death Penalty in America", Adam Bedau wrote, "even in the tragedy of human death there are degrees, and that it is much more tragic for the innocent to lose his life than for the State to take the life of a criminal convicted of a capital offense" (308). I believe that if one cannot value the life of another human being, then one's own life has no value.

Death penalty is good and serves a definite purpose of reducing crime as well as bringing justice to the criminals and innocent. In order to serve its purpose, it must be adjusted and made more effective and efficient. The justice system has changed dramatically in the past thirty years in order to make sure that the rightly accused is brought to justice. I believe that death penalty should not be abolished, as it ensures the safety of the society, brings justice to those who have suffered and most importantly helps in reducing crime and criminals in our society. Death penalty is important to keep the brightness of justice and public safety shining brightly on our society.

Works Cited

Budau, Hugo Adam. "Capital Punishment and Social Defense." Reserved reading for Philosophy 203.

Bedau, Hugo Adam. " The Death Penalty in America." New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Browning, Tonya. "Capital Punishment: Life or Death." Computer Writing and Research Lab, University of Texas. Online. Internet. 27 April 2000.

Haag, Ernest van den. "On Deterrence and the Death Penalty." Reserved reading for Philosophy 203.

Shapiro, Walter. "What say should victims have?" AskJeeves.com. Online. Internet. 29 April 2000.

Slambrouck, Paul Van. "US Prisons - Under Pressure - Show Increase in Violence." The Christian Science Monitor Online. 6 August 1998. Internet.

"Incapacitation." "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary." 1981.



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