The Death Penalty Essay

1999 Words Apr 18th, 2013 8 Pages
The Death Penalty
The death penalty is a form of punishment in which a person who has been convicted of a serious crime is executed under the precept of the criminal justice system. The death penalty has been in existence for thousands of years and has gained wide acceptance in the United States since early colonial times. Even those who framed the Constitution specifically the Fifth Amendment approved of it though implicitly (McCord and Latzer 9). Despite the growing acceptance of the death penalty as an appropriate punishment for certain kinds of crimes such as first degree murders, there are still some people who argue against it on certain grounds. The debate as to the justification of the death penalty has raged on for a long time.
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Society has always employed different kinds of punishments in an effort to prevent potential criminals from committing crimes. In other words, there is always a drive to prevent future harm by learning from the mistakes of today. In this regard, the society has a fervent interest in protecting people’s lives from murderers. The best way to prevent murder is to use the strongest form of punishment which is the death penalty (Arguments for and Against the Death Penalty). Evidence from numerous studies has proved that the death penalty has an inherent ability to deter would-be murderers from committing heinous crimes.
In fact, the incapacitative benefits of the death penalty occur in two ways. Firstly, by apprehending and executing convicted individual murderers, death penalty totally eliminates any possibility of the criminal going back to the streets and killing again (Ogloff and Honeyman). Apart from this aspect referred to as specific deterrence, the death penalty has even a wider scope of incapacitative benefits through general deterrence. This is because, by executing people convicted of committing horrific murders, potential murderers would be restrained from killing people since they are conscious of what will come over them (Cassell and Bedau 32).
Some opponents of the death penalty are of the opinion that the concept of deterrence rests on a shaky ground since it assumes that people always think before acting, so that their actions depend

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