Capital Punishment

1786 Words Feb 15th, 2013 8 Pages
Capital Punishment

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the toughest form of punishment enforced today in the United States. According to the online Webster dictionary, capital punishment is defined as “the judicially ordered execution of a prisoner as a punishment for a serious crime, often called a capital offence or a capital crime” (1). In those jurisdictions that practice capital punishment, its use is usually restricted to a small number of criminal offences, principally, treason and premeditated murder. In the 38 U.S. states and within the federal government currently upholding and enforcing death penalty statutes, this method of punishment varies quite differently amongst them. It is a controversial issue
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The crime rate is lower in the states that do not invoke capital punishment, but as Walter Burns stated “the number of murders tend to rise with the crime rate in general-and not only in America (4). Capital punishment is maintained to hopefully show criminals that when they kill they will eventually meet the same fate. By enforcing the death penalty, the government could be trying to scare criminals from their crimes, and in some cases it has worked. When the death penalty was restored in Kansas, for example, the homicide rate dropped considerably (7). According to research done by Bedau, the crime rate continued to soar between 1960-1969, when capital punishment was rarely being used in most states (7). As a whole, capital punishment has worked to lower homicidal crimes and deter criminals from illegal actions. Capital punishment could help to keep repeat offenders off the streets. In some states the common belief is that imprisoning the murders of society in penitentiaries will keep them from killing again, but this is not true. Even when criminals are imprisoned, their killing can still continue. Bedau did a survey of all the male inmates in state penitentiaries during the year of 1973. He came to the conclusion that after the men were imprisoned for one year, at least sixteen homicides were reported (7). In effect, the

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