Capital Punishment Deters Murder, and Is Just Retribution


Capital punishment, is the execution of criminals by the state, for
committing crimes, regarded so heinous, that this is the only acceptable
punishment. Capital punishment does not only lower the murder rate, but it\'s
value as retribution alone is a good reason for handing out death sentences.
Support for the death penalty in the U.S. has risen to an average of 80%
according to an article written by Richard Worsnop, entitled "Death penalty
debate centres on Retribution", this figure is slightly lower in Canada where
support for the death penalty is at 72% of the population over 18 years of age,
as stated in article by Kirk Makir, in the March 26, 1987 edition of the Globe
and Mail, titled "B.C. MPs split on Death Penalty".
The death penalty deters murder by putting the fear of death into would
be killers. A person is less likely to do something, if he or she thinks that
harm will come to him. Another way the death penalty deters murder, is the fact
that if the killer is dead, he will not be able to kill again.
Most supporters of the death penalty feel that offenders should be
punished for their crimes, and that it does not matter whether it will deter the
crime rate. Supporters of the death penalty are in favour of making examples
out of offenders, and that the threat of death will be enough to deter the crime
rate, but the crime rate is irrelevant.
According to Isaac Ehrlich\'s study, published on April 16, 1976, eight
murders are deterred for each execution that is carried out in the U.S.A. He
goes on to say, "If one execution of a guilty capital murderer deters the murder
of one innocent life, the execution is justified." To most supporters of the
death penalty, like Ehrlich, if even 1 life is saved, for countless executions
of the guilty, it is a good reason for the death penalty. The theory that
society engages in murder when executing the guilty, is considered invalid by
most supporters, including Ehrlich. He feels that execution of convicted
offenders expresses the great value society places on innocent life.
Isaac Ehrlich goes on to state that racism is also a point used by death
penalty advocates. We will use the U.S. as examples, since we can not look at
the inmates on death row in Canada, because their are laws in Canada that state
that crime statistics can not be based on race, also the fact that there are no
inmates on death row in Canada. In the U.S. 16 out of 1000 whites arrested for
murder are sentenced to death, while 12 of 1000 blacks arrested for murder were
sentenced to death. 1.1% of black inmates on death row were executed, while
1.7% of white inmates will die.
Another cry for racism, as according to Ehrlich, that is raised by
advocates of the death penalty is based on the colour of the victim, for example
"if the victim is white, it is more likely that the offender will get the death
penalty than if the victim had been black". This is true, if you look at the
actual number of people who are murder. More people kill whites and get the
death penalty, then people who kill blacks and get the death penalty. The
reason for this is that more whites are killed, and the murders captured. Now
if we look at the number of blacks killed it is a lot less, but you have to look
at these numbers proportionately. Percent wise it is almost the same number for
any race, so this is not the issue.
In a 1986 study done by Professor Stephen K. Layson of the University of
North Carolina, the conclusions made by Ehrilich were updated, and showed to be
a little on the low side as far as the deterrence factor of capital punishment.
Professor Layson found that 18 murders were deterred by each execution is the
U.S. He also found that executions increases in probability of arrest,
conviction, and other executions of heinous offenders.
According to a statement issued by George C. Smith, Director of
Litigation, Washington Legal Foundation, titled "In Support of the Death
Penalty", support for the death penalty has grown in the U.S., as the crime rate
increased. In 1966, 42% of Americans were in favour of capital punishment while
47% were opposed to it. Since the crime rate United states has increased,
support for the