Capital Punishment the Pros and Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

life imprisonment, we must follow common sense and assume that if one punishment is more fearful than another, it will deter some potential criminals not deterred by the less fearful punishment" (p. 282). In an effort to deconstruct the tenability of van den Haag's assertions, Reiman takes the deterrent analogy to an extreme and suggests that the death penalty is insufficient and that death by torture would serve as an even more effective deterrent.

While some observers might suggest that this is precisely what is happening to internees at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Reiman's extreme position concerning capital punishment does serve to highlight the moral and legal ambiguities involved in assessing the value of the death penalty for a modern society. Notwithstanding these moral and legal ambiguities, though, in the case of capital crimes, there is far too much at stake to allow such heinous acts to go unpunished, and van den Haag's "best bet argument" maintains that it is better for society to err on the side of safety by using the death penalty rather than taking a chance on alternative punishments. This pragmatic perspective is reinforced by the fact that having been convicted of a capital offense, death row inmates forfeit all of their cards (e.g., right to life) in favor of the house (e.g., the state) in the gambling analogy presented by van den Haag's "best bet argument." According to White, "van den Haag's 'best bet argument' [maintains] that given uncertainties about whether execution deters, the best bet is to execute, for this involves gambling with guilty lives rather than innocent ones. The bet, of course, is that executions will deter and thus save innocent lives" (p. 249). Indeed, it is difficult to argue with the reality that an executed criminal will not commit any further capital crimes, just as it is difficult to challenge the rationale that at least some people will be dissuaded from committing capital crimes because...
...The question of whether the state has the right and moral authority to execute those convicted of capital crimes has been debated since time immemorial, but the issues involved remain as salient and compelling today as they did thousands of years ago. The research showed that the United States remains one of the few nations in the world to use the death penalty, and the arguments in favor and against capital punishment showed that the analysis is a complicated one. Nevertheless, the research also showed that despite the arguments against the death penalty, the single best reason in favor of its continued use was the fact that executed criminals commit no further crimes and their execution may in fact serve as a deterrent for others in the future.

References

Black's law dictionary. (1991). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co.

Cahn, S.M. & Markie, P. (1998). Ethics: History, theory, and contemporary issues. New York: Oxford University Press.

Reiman, J.H. (2000). Justice, civilization and the death penalty. In White at 273-283.

A van den Haag, E. (1978). In defense of the death penalty: A practical and moral analysis.

Criminal Law Bulletin, 14(1), 51-68 in…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Black's law dictionary. (1991). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co.

Cahn, S.M. & Markie, P. (1998). Ethics: History, theory, and contemporary issues. New York: Oxford University Press.

Reiman, J.H. (2000). Justice, civilization and the death penalty. In White at 273-283.

A van den Haag, E. (1978). In defense of the death penalty: A practical and moral analysis.

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