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An issue that has continually created tension in today's society is whether the death penalty serves as a justified and valid form of punishment.

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Introduction

An issue that has continually created tension in today's society is whether the death penalty serves as a justified and valid form of punishment. Whenever the word "death penalty" comes up, extremists from both sides start yelling out their arguments. One side says deterrence, the other side says there's a potential of executing an innocent man; one says justice, retribution, and punishment; the other side says execution is murder. Crime is an evident part of society, and everyone is aware that something must be done about it. Most people know the threat of crime to their lives, but the question lies in the methods and action in which it should be dealt with. In several parts of the world, the death penalty has been apportioned to those who have committed a variety of offenses from the time of ancient Babylon to present-day America. The Roman Empire made use of the death penalty liberally, as did the Church of the Middle Ages. As history tells us, capital punishment, whose definition is "the use of death as a legally sanctioned punishment," is an acceptable and efficient means of deterring crime. Today, the death penalty remains an effective method of punishment for murder and other heinous crimes. ...read more.

Middle

While attorneys are protecting the rights of the accused, the family of the victim often gets lost in the legal proceedings. While the accused is protected by laws and is the center of the scuffle between various lawyers, the mourning family receives little more than the media circus for their grief. They receive inadequate compensation for their loss, but with a death penalty, they can at least be assured that that person who murdered their loved one will never kill again. Capital punishment should remain in use and delivered more frequently. Only too often are death penalties reduced to life sentences or less and more condemned inmates die in death row than by execution. The effectiveness of capital punishment rests largely on the willingness of officials to use it liberally and thus exerting the power of the government. This penalty would serve as a deterrent of violent crimes and restore justice. Increased use would prod people to stay away from violent crimes. Would-be criminals would think twice before committing an offense punishable by death, and because of this, societies would gain a sense of "moral security." As we can see from previous civilizations such as the Babylonian and Roman Empires, death penalty is effective and much more efficient than spending millions of society's tax dollars to upkeep their prison stay. ...read more.

Conclusion

A second argument against the death penalty is discrimination. Eighty-two percent of all murder victims are white and thirteen percent are black. This is about a 6:1 ratio. Opponents of the death penalty, such as the NAACP, argue that the system values white lives more than black lives. If this is true, one has to wonder why whites represent fifty-five percent of those executed and blacks thirty-nine percent, when blacks have committed forty-nine percent of all murders, and whites thirty-nine percent from 1976-1994. Successful prosecutions depend on the nature of the crime and not the race of the victim. The reason that whites are overwhelmingly the victims in death row cases is that whites are overwhelmingly the victims in capital crimes. The death penalty is not racist and does not violate the cruel and unusual punishment clause. Capital punishment has proven to have good benefits upon the country in determining the consequences that criminals deserve. This is needed to ensure the safety and moral values of society. If this is the case, there is no need for us to consider the expenses involved in the death penalty. Certainly human lives are more important, for it may easily be yours. We should not abolish capital punishment, but hold our country accountable for properly exercising the death penalty upon those who deserve it. ...read more.

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