Argument: Death penalty effectively prevents murderers from killing again

Issue Report: Death penalty


Robert Meyer, Renew America Columnist, “Why Capital Punishment is Pro-Life”, Renew America, 9/20/04 – “Sometimes the claim is made that capital punishment is not forgiving or compassionate. It is very compassionate to the ‘would be’ victims, that often become statistical tragedies due to the will of lenient courts.”

Deroy Murdock, senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. “A sure way to prevent prison escapes”. – Life sentences too often are mere challenges for prisoners to escape, terrify law-abiding citizens and sometimes kill again. The death penalty’s detractors cannot refute this fact: Even the toughest criminals become remarkably docile once separated from society by six feet of soil.

Don Feder. “Capital Punishment Foes Dead Wrong”. Jewish World Review. 10 Jan. 2001 – When murderers aren’t executed, innocents suffer. Odds are a killer will be released at some point. And there’s a fair chance that he or she will kill again. In fact, there’s a far greater likelihood of this then of an innocent man taking that long walk.

Jeff Jacoby. “The Abolitionist’s Cop-Out”. The Boston Globe. 8 June 2000 – No one who genuinely worries about the legal system putting innocent people at risk can afford to waste time denouncing the death penalty. In one 17-month period, criminals released “under supervision” committed 13,200 murders. Why is it that the enemies of capital punishment never have a word to say about those innocent victims?

Dudley Sharp, Death Penalty Resources Director. “Death Penalty and Sentencing Information”. Justice For All. 1 Oct 1997 – THE INCAPACITATION AND THE DETERRENT EFFECTS. SUMMARY – The incapacitation effect saves lives – that is, that by executing murderers you prevent them from murdering again and do, thereby, save innocent life (B.1-4, 7, 9, 10 & 15). The evidence of this is conclusive and incontrovertible. Furthermore, the individual deterrent effect also proves that executions save innocent life (B.7-9 & 11-18). This effect represents those potential murderers who did not murder under specific circumstances because of their fear of execution. There are many, perhaps thousands, of such documented cases, representing many innocent lives saved by the fear of execution. Circumstances dictate that the majority of these cases will never be documented and that the number of innocent lives saved by individual deterrence will be, and has been, much greater than we will ever be able to calculate. Finally, there are more than 30 years of respected academic studies which reveal a general, or systemic, deterrent effect, meaning that there is statistical proof that executions produce fewer murders (B. 7-9 & 11-18). However, such studies are inconclusive because there are also studies that find no such effect – not surprising, as the U.S. has executed only 0.08% of their murderers since 1973. Because such studies are inconclusive, we must choose the option that may save innocent lives. For, if there is a general deterrent effect, and we do execute, then we are saving innocent lives. But, if there is a general deterrent effect and we don’t execute murderers, we are sacrificing innocent lives. If our judgement is in error regarding general deterrence, then such error must be made on the side of saving innocent lives and not on the side of sacrificing innocent lives. This is a moral imperative. Furthermore, the individual deterrent effect could not exist without the general deterrent effect bring present. The individual deterrent effect is proven. Therefore, even though it may be statistically elusive, the general deterrent effect is proven by individual deterrence. Individually and collectively, these three effects present a strong morale argument for executions. Executions save lives. Period. Our choice is to spare the lives of the murderers and to, thereby, sacrifice the lives of the innocent or to execute those murderers and to, thereby, spare the lives of the innocent. What do you choose?

“The Death Penalty – A Defense”. – It effectively stops violent criminals and murderers from committing more crimes. The brutalizing of society decreases. On the other hand, imprisonment gives cause to more crimes – in prison, at leave, at escapes, and after release.