Outlaw the Death Penalty

The death penalty is more expensive than incarceration and fundamentally inhumane. Prominent social scientists consistently cite the six key arguments to defend their opposition to capital punishment:

  1. The death penalty is racist and consistently applied in a racially-biased manner
  2. The death penalty unfairly punishes the poor
  3. The death penalty condemns the innocent to die
  4. The death penalty is not a deterrant against violent crime
  5. The death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment
  6. The death penalty fails to recognize to potential of guilty people to change, and prizes retribution over rehabilition

For these reasons and more, the death penalty should not be allowed to exist within a democratic and free civil society.

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Proper justice insists upon a punishment that befits the crime committed. Though severe, the death penalty is, at times, an appropriate and proportionate punishment when the courts deem a crime sufficiently heinous. [4] Not only does the death penalty provide closure for those affected by the crime, [5] but it also demonstrates a state’s commitment to upholding a system of justice and, in doing so, deters potential criminals from future offenses. [6]

Capital punishment is symbolically significant, in that it exhibits a state’s commitment to the safety of its law-abiding citizens and reinforces a population’s sense of security, a sentiment crucial to a prosperous and functional society. [7] Further, execution prevents the offender from the possibility of re-offense. [8] Though death-penalty skeptics argue that re-offense is rare when a criminal faces life without parole, [9] one must consider two points: 1. the offender remains a threat to prison staff/fellow inmates if allowed to live, and 2., the offender, in certain instances, maintains influence over a non-incarcerated population compelled to do the offender’s bidding (e.g. in cases of despotic leaders who garner political influence).

One must maintain a consequentialist view, which argues that if the death of a few individuals nets an aggregate increase in well-being for a population, then the deaths within this system are morally justified. [10]

  1. ^ Retribution (In Support of the Death Penalty). Death Penalty Curriculum
  2. ^ Gregory Kane (2003-02-05) To Murder Victims' Familes, Executing Killers is Justice. Baltimore Sun
  3. ^ Robert Tanner (2007-06-11) Studies Say Death Penalty Deters Crime. The Washington Post
  4. ^ Arguments in favour of capital punishment. BBC
  5. ^ Stephanie Slifer (2014-04-23) Once a criminal, always a criminal?. CBS News
  6. ^ Life Sentences in the Federal Criminal Justice System. United States Sentencing Commission
  7. ^ Dominic J. Wilkinson, Thomas Douglas (2008-11-17) Consequentialism and the Death Penalty. The American Journal of Bioethics
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