Capital Punishment



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



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 capital punishment has followed suit.

In 1986, support for capital