The Death Penalty Should Not Be Used

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The Right to Life: Executing the Death Penalty The death penalty is a punishment given to people who commit heinous crimes. Since 1976, there have been over 1,390 executions. But does that make the death penalty, necessarily, a correct and justifiable form of punishment? “The death penalty is our harshest punishment,” states Ernest van den Haag, author of “The Ultimate Punishment: a Defense.” Van den Haag, in his article, argues how the death penalty is effective and should be used. However, Jack Greenberg, James P. Gray, and Jeffery Reiman, all concur that the death penalty should not be used as a punishment for criminals. Jack Greenberg, author of “Against the American System of Capital Punishment,” argues how the death penalty is an…show more content…
Van den Haag argues how “There has been no conclusive statistical demonstration that the death penalty is a better deterrent than are alternative punishments" (1665). Even though van den Haag explains that deterrence might not be the best argument for supporting the death penalty, he does discuss how the certitude of the death penalty tends to be more formidable than imprisonment. Van den Haag also explains that even though the death penalty may not deter hundreds of murderers, is still deters some. “Sparing the lives of even a few prospective victims by deterring their murderers is more important than preserving the lives of convicted murderers because of the possibility, or even the probability, that executing them would not deter others” (van den Haag 1666). On the other hand, Greenberg, Reiman, and Gray argue against deterrence and how it is not a leading factor for justifying the administration the death penalty. “Because of the goals that our criminal justice system must satisfy - deterring crime, punishing the guilty, acquitting the innocent, avoiding needless cruelty, treating citizens equally, and prohibiting oppression by the state - America simply does not have the kind of capital punishment system contemplated by death penalty partisans” (Greenberg 1670). Greenberg argues how due to the American system of capital punishment, deterrence is not a factor due to the “infrequent, random, and erratic executions” of this system
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