Capital punishment is defined in the Encarta Encyclopedia as the legal infliction of the death penalty. The death penalty is currently used as punishment for crimes of murder. The State of Florida supports capital punishment and carries it out by electric chair execution. According to The Death Row Fact Sheet published by the Florida Department of Corrections, 44 people have been executed since 1976 and another 372 inmates are currently on death row in Florida. Thesis.
Deterrence defined as. By the Encarta Encyclopedia.Under this
concept, the individual committing the crime and society are prevented from committing this action again. In the case of the death penalty, an individual kills another human and he is “punished” for it by death. Punishment is supposed to be a temporary penalization for a wrongful action. Death is far from temporary. One is to learn from ones mistakes. How can the person learn if they are paying for their mistake with their life? In George Andersons article, “Organizing Against the Death Penalty” he states, “The death penalty is our harshest punishment. It is irrevocable: it ends the existence of those punished, instead of temporarily imprisoning them.” (13). By imposing the death penalty the individual does not learn from their mistakes and neither does society. Moreover, there are no reliable methods to measure the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent of future crimes. People who commit capital murders generally do not engage in probability analysis concerning the likelihood of getting the death penalty in they are caught (Freedman 48). In Louisiana, for example, during the summer of 1978, eight people were executed. During that same period the murder rate in New Orleans rose 16.9%, the highest in years (Cohen 29).
Most of the costs of the death penalty are incurred before and during the trial, not in the appeals process after convicted. A 1982 New York study estimated the death penalty cost conservatively at three times that of life imprisonment, the ratio that Texas (with a system that is on the brink of collapse due to under-funding) has experienced (Freedman 49). As Anderson points out, “the monetary cost of appealing a capital sentence is excessive.” (14). Further, “actual monetary costs are trumped by the importance of doing justice.” (Anderson 14). Additionally there are specific costs associated with keeping an inmate on death row, (i.e. the cost of the specially built prison blocks, the need for maximum security, etc.) and more. These costs clearly out weigh the regular costs incurred to house a regular inmate. With the millions spent executing prisoners, the government could use that money more effectively trying to solve violent crimes, and developing methods to improve public safety.
Society demands that the punishment should fix the harm it has done. By sentencing a person to death no harm has been fixed. You can not bring the murdered person back by taking the prisoners life. “Punishment-regardless of the motivation is not intended to revenge, offset, or compensate for the victims suffering or to be measured by it.” (Vila 128).
The community demands that justice be served. Would justice not equally be served and in fact may be better served by life imprisonment? I believe it would be a worse punishment to endure a life sentence in prison. The individual is deprived of his liberty. He will then suffer and live the rest of his or her life within three lonely walls and a set of bars. It gives the individual time to think and wallow in his own guilt.
..Someone kills another person. The State then proceeds to kill him for doing so. This is not punishment but revenge. Revenge is inconsistent with societys demands that justice be served because the punishment has to fit the crime. Justice Brennan has insisted that the death penalty is “uncivilized, ” “inhuman,” inconsistent with “human dignity” and with the “dignity of life.” (Freedman 50). Brennan speaks of moral imperatives. It is morally wrong for someone to kill another person. If so, then the state is committing a morally wrongful act. As they say, “two wrongs dont make a right.”
Society desires for its members to reintegrate themselves into society. Punishment includes preparing the person to reenter society and lead a productive life. Without doubt, if you impose the death penalty there is no opportunity for rehabilitation.
Anderson, George M. Organizing against the death penalty. America Jan 3 1998: 10-14.
Death Row Fact Sheet. United States. Florida Department of Corrections. Online Available
http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow, October 5 1999
Capital Punishment. The 1997 Encarta Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. New York: Microsoft,
Cohen, Adam. A Life For A Life Time 8 March 1999: 28-32. Online Available
http://www.fau.edu/library, October 5, 1999.
Freedman, Eric M. The Case Against the Death Penalty. USA Today 9 March 1997: 48-50.
Radelet, Michael L. Deterrence and the Death Penalty: The Views of the Experts. Journal of
Criminal Law and Criminology. Fall 1996: 1-16.
Vila, Bryan. And Cynthia Morris. Capital Punishment In The United States. Conneticut:Greenwood Press, 1997.