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Capital Punishment: The Effects of the Death Penalty

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Capital Punishment: The Effects of the Death Penalty The effects of the death penalty can be divided into three main groups: public safety, deterrence, and retribution. The death penalty is the judicially ordered execution of a prisoner as a punishment for a serious crime, most often first-degree murder. Prisoners who have been sentenced to death are usually kept separate from other prisoners pending their execution. However, isolation and eventually, the death of a convicted inmate, play an important role on public safety, deterrence, and retribution in the future. The principle of deterrence is based on the idea that the threat of punishment must be harsh enough to counter the benefits or pleasures that the criminal would receive from the illegal act. In addition, the punishment must be administered swiftly so that potential criminals will see a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the two. The most convincing argument for the deterrent effect of the death penalty comes from the commonsense belief that people fear death more than life in prison. "Once in prison, virtually all convicted murderers seek to avoid execution by appealing to reduce their sentence to 'life in prison' (Bender)." ...read more.


"Crime indicates a diseased mind in the same manner that sickness and pain do a diseased body," the Iowa Supreme Court's chief justice said. "And as in the one case we provide hospitals for the treatment of severe and contagious diseases, so in the other, prisons and asylums should be provided for similar reasons." There is something in human nature that requires a life for a life. Two years after the state abolished the death penalty, a convict was lynched in Janesville, Wisconsin. A newspaper reporter from Chicago took the incident as proof of the same natural principle "that this cannot be looked upon as the feeding of revenge, but the voice of nature within us (Banner)." Capital punishment has a retributive basis as long as capital crime was seen to be chosen freely. For certain people that are genetically or environmentally predisposed to commit crimes, the death penalty cannot be seen as a just punishment. Convicted felons may throw out a death sentence based on illness or psychotic behaviors that the criminal cannot control, yet this claim can only be accounted for with intense psychological reviews or having prior doctor's diagnosis on said mental illness. ...read more.


Or we should not have trucking or aircrafts or elevators because we are going to have accidents. There are going to be some mistakes committed. The question is, on balance, which way do we better promote the general welfare of public safety? R.L. Calder believes that "nothing is more remarkable in the evolution of a community than the growing regard for human life. A community is held to be civilized, or not, in exact proportion to the safety of the common citizen. When the life of an individual is unjustly taken by another individual, the horror of the community for such an act cannot be adequately and proportionally manifested except as the community surmounts sentiment and exacts the life of the killer in payment - after a trial, where all possible human excuses and palliations have been alleged, tested, and found insufficient (Calder)." For people who truly value public safety, there is no substitute. Capital punishment not only forever bars the murderer from killing again, it also prevents parole boards and criminal rights activists from giving the criminal the chance to kill again. Anna Zenner English 101 Professor Monticelli 11 November 2004 1 ...read more.

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