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How might the death penalty prevent crime?

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Introduction

The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, is the execution of criminals by the state for committing heinous crimes such as rape and murder. A major purpose of criminal punishment is to conclude future criminal conduct. Justice is about enforcing consequences for one's own actions to endorse personal responsibility. We cannot expect anyone to take responsibility for their own actions if these consequences are not enforced in full. It is believed that fear of death deters people from committing a crime, for example most criminals would think twice before committing murder if they knew that their actions could lead to the death penalty. Today, on the other hand, he who has committed murder can't be sentenced to death penalty and therefore he would probably neither be deterred from committing further crimes. McAdams, a professor of Political Science at Marquette University, points out what is most evident in the facts concerning the death penalty. The death penalty erases criminals from our world and therefore prevents them from committing more heinous crimes. Even if the death penalty does not show any evidence of reducing crime or murder, then at least one more criminal is removed from our society, reducing number of criminals who might commit crimes in future. ...read more.

Middle

Because it is essentially impossible for the society either to know or accurately estimate the proportion of capital murders for which executions have been carried out, it is most unlikely that the death penalty could deter even "deterrable" potential offenders. In all likelihood, only those executions receiving significant media coverage are likely to have any deterrent potential In other words, executions appear to deter crime only through their announcement, for example, if potential criminals do actually witness an execution (through media) in short time before their planned (or not) criminal activity, then they will be less eager to commit a homicide. I think that more important than public executions for the country that uses the death penalty is to consistently inform its citizens about what crimes could have the death penalty as a consequence. Beginning in the nine-year school, all students should receive information about legal practice and what crimes imply the death penalty and they should be given reasons for both the usage and resignation from using the death penalty. Such knowledge might prevent them from committing crimes they would commit if they didn't know the consequences of their activity. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some people can sometimes refer to countries that have abolished the death penalty without any increase of the frequency of murder, and come to the conclusion that the death penalty has no special deterrent effect. But supporters of the death penalty can refer to other countries that have abolished the death penalty and where the frequency of murder have risen, or point out countries with death penalty where the crime rate is very low (for example Singapore and Japan). From a scientific point of view neither is right. The movement of the crime rate curve is dependent upon hundreds of factors, not just one. Truly reliable conclusions cannot be drawn from statistics, curves and tables. The causal connection is too complex and the opportunities of interpretations are vast. In itself the death penalty is not something desired. But this awful punishment is forced by a sometimes ice-cold brutal reality. Each country is continuously forced to fight criminal behaviors in every possible way, sometimes it is impossible to avoid using the more desperate means of preventing crime. The death penalty should be viewed as one (and certainly not the most favored) instrument among many in the fight for a more righteous and better world. ...read more.

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