Capital Punishment : A Deterrent Effect

971 Words Dec 3rd, 2015 4 Pages
Recent research studies argues that the death penalty has significant deterrent effects, supporting the use of capital punishment. In particular, American constitutional legal scholars Cass R Sunstein and Adrien Vermeule presented their 2005 study, “Is Capital Punishment Morally Required? The Relevance of Life-Life Tradeoffs,” which supports the notion of capital punishment as a deterrent. Sunstein and Vermeule’s study specifically presents the argument of the morality behind the death penalty’s significant deterrent effect, in light of recent research studies that they found to support capital punishment as a deterrent. In support of capital punishment being a deterrent, Sunstein and Vermeule cite Hashem Dezhbaksh 2003 study, “Does Capital Punishment Have a Deterrent Effect? “, which used data from 3,054 U.S. counties between 1977 and 1996, finding that the murder rate decreased significantly due to death sentences and executions (Sunstein and Vermeule 9). This can be justified as deterring crimes because she found the correlation between the murder rate decreasing and death sentences and executions increasing. However, she does not acknowledge that other factors can influence this type of correlation. Despite this, in that same study, it was found that on average, for each execution performed there were 18 fewer murders (Sunstein and Vermeule 9). This evidence is compelling because it notes that each execution brought on less capital offenses. It would seem as if the…
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