Essay on Death Penalty: Capital Punishment and Violent Crime

1570 Words 7 Pages
Capital Punishment and Violent Crime


Hypothesis

Most Americans are pro-death penalty, even though they don't really believe that it is an effective deterrent to violent crime. Those who are pro-death penalty will remain so, even if faced with the best arguments of anti-death penalty activists and told to assume the arguments were absolutely true.

Violent crime

Violent crime is a major problem in the United States. According to the ACLU, the violent crime rate rose sixty-one percent nationwide over the last two decades, making America one of the most dangerous countries in the industrialized world to live in. Americans are seven to ten times more likely to be murdered than the residents of most European countries and Japan
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Six month later, in January 1977, the first execution under the new death penalty laws took place in the United States, ending the moratorium of capital punishment that began in 1967.

Since that time, there have been many studies and public opinion polls to determine the effectiveness of the death penalty. When a Gallup poll asked those who were pro-death penalty to explain the reason for their position, most of them said that the death sentence was an effective deterrent of crime, it was more economic than life sentences, it was a moral obligation to the victim's families, and it was necessary to bring justice to society. When the same poll asked those who were against the death penalty their reasons to be opposed to capital punishment, they stated that it was wrong to take a life, wrongful convictions may occur, it did not deter crime, it was unfairly applied, rehabilitation was possible and punishment should be left to God. About a year ago, while I was watching a popular television show, I heard a spokesman for Amnesty International claim that when people were told that the death penalty was more expensive than life in prison, a majority polled said they were opposed to the death penalty. I doubted his assertion, and this was the basis for my…