Through which he concluded that each execution prevents around seven or eight people from committing murder (Worsnop 402). In 1985, an economist from the University of North Carolina by the name of Stephen K. Layson published a report that showed that every execution of a murderer deterred eighteen would be murderers (Guernsey 68). While the numbers from these studies seem quite low as compared to the large number of murders committed every day in the United States, the numbers become quite large when discussed in the terms of every year executions. (Guernsey 65)
The opponents of capital punishment here give different points which are also quite true. According to the critics of capital punishment many of the people who commit acts of murder are either retarded or are immature. Capital punishment doesn't have an effect on the youth and immature people. As Richard L. Worsnop writes in his article entitled Death Penalty Debate Centers on Retribution:
Peer pressure and family environment subject adolescents to enormous psychological and emotional stress. Adolescents respond to stressful situations by acting impulsively and without the mature judgment expected of adults. These characteristics are shared by all adolescents. Thus, the possibility of capital punishment is meaningless to juveniles and has no deterrent effect." The mentally deficient people are suffering from the same situation as they cannot think or judge what are going to be the after effects. "As many as 30% of the 2,300 prisoners on death row may be retarded or mentally impaired (Guernsey 30)." The opponents argue that people who are under the influence of drugs or in an emotional rage also suffer from the same situation. Capital punishment cannot affect people like them as they are not in their senses.
Many of the people these days who are young and immature don't think of the after effects
The opponents of capital punishment stress that the sentence of death is humiliating to the whole mankind. They emphasize on the fact that the government should realize the right of each and every individual. Imposing death is not the only solution to all the crimes is a common saying by the opponents. They ask the governments to use other substitutes than to impose a death sentence such as life imprisonment which can be an effective way to cut off the criminals from the society and this could set an example for other wrong doers to refrain from criminal activities. Beccaria wrote an essay on Crimes and Punishments in which he claimed that firmness of a punishment could be a more valuable way to curb crime, than to severe the punishment which could result in worse results.
While supporters of capital punishment argue that death sentence is necessary for the commitment of dreadful crimes since it provides justice and condemnation. They also assert that death sentence itself is feared more then the restrictions forced on ones liberty.
Societal scientists performed a research to check the development in rate of killing before and after governments abolished capital punishment. The majority of the research concluded that the abolishment of capital punishment didn't manipulate the rate of killings all over the world. Hans Zeisel, a law and sociology professor theorizes that "if executions deter murderers, those states that stopped executions in the late 1960's would have experienced a greater increase in the murder rate than those states that stopped executions decades ago." Zeisel found no sudden increase in the murder rate and concluded that the death penalty had no deterring value (Worsnop 2).
This gave the opponents of capital punishment another opportunity for criticism. They concluded that the death penalty doesn't discourage the crime rate. However, here the supporters of the death penalty argue that the death sentence is only for people who commit brutal murders so the curbing effects of capital punishment on the overall crimes cannot be figured out through these statistics. Supporters also point out that the research has some conflicting areas too and thus it cannot be confirmed or negated that capital punishment has an effect on the homicide rate.
Nowadays capital punishment is debated around everywhere and it has become a known human rights issue. Human rights have opposed capital punishment in the reaction to the political history of the 20th century. The era of World War II is seen as the bloodiest in awarding death sentences to billions of people all over the world. But after the World War II the countries began abolishing capital punishments. Human Rights regard capital punishment against the violation of one's right to live. As it is becoming a growing concern for the Human Rights many countries which are progressing towards democracy are abolishing capital punishment. Opponents still say that death penalty has no deterring effect on the crime rate while on the other hand the supporters of capital punishment consider it the right way to deter the crime rate.
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Guernsey, JoAnn Bren. Should We Have Capital Punishment? Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co, 1993.
Van den Haag, Ernest, and John Phillips Conrad. The Death Penalty a Debate. New York: Plenum Press, 1983.
Maestro, Marcello T. A Pioneer for the Abolition of Capital Punishment Cesare Beccaria. [New York]: Journal of the History of Ideas, 1973.
Williams, Mary E. Capital Punishment. Current controversies. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
BEDAU, H.A., & CASSELL, P.G. (2004). Debating the death penalty should America have capital punishment?: the experts on both sides make their best case. New York, Oxford University Press.
Kronenwetter, Michael. Capital Punishment a Reference Handbook. Contemporary world issues. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 1993.
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Paulos, John W. "The Supreme Court, Capital Punishment and the Substantive Criminal Law the Rise and Fall of Mandatory Capital Punishment." Arizona Law Review. 28. 2 (1986).
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Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Capital Punishment
Schultz, David a. Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court. Facts on File library of American history. New York: Facts…