In Defense of the Death Penalty: it deters crime and prevents re-offending, while avoiding the risks and monetary cost of life imprisonment.
The Death Penalty Deters Crime
The vast majority of people don’t want to die, which is why the death penalty is the ultimate way to deter crime.
We can’t punish everything with death — that’d be overkill, literally — but it does fit for heinous crimes like murder and child molestation, where innocent people are killed or suffer immense phycological damage that stays with the victim for the rest of their life.
A lot of people like to argue the death penalty is the “easy way out” and believe life in prison will make the perpetrator suffer more — but the fact that most criminals faced with capital punishment appeal for the possibility of life in prison proves this notion false, as they clearly don’t prefer to die.
The media likes to talk a lot about the death-row inmates who kill themselves, but the truth is that these cases are rare.
The Death Penalty Prevents Re-Offense
Another major reason to support the death penalty is that it permanently prevents re-offense, because dead men can’t commit murder or rape.
There are way too many cases of someone being convicted of murder, rape, or child molestation, serving their time, getting released, and doing it again. Furthermore, it’s impossible to rehabilitate some criminals, like pedophiles.
Yes, life in prison is an alternative, but a lot of criminals escape — and it ignores the blatantly obvious fact that they can just kill or rape other inmates while in prison.
Why Should the Taxpayers Cover the Cost?
Life in prison is pretty expensive; you have to pay for food, housing, electricity, running water, guards, and all kinds of other expenses — just to keep some serial child rapist from getting the rope. And guess who pays for it? The taxpayers!
I don’t want my hard-earned money being given to pedophiles, rapists, and murderers, and neither should you! We could put that money to better use with universal healthcare, UBI, or a tax cut.
It’s true that lethal injection costs a lot more than life in prison, but a few feet of rope ain’t that expensive, and can even be re-used.
Appeals are costly too, but that problem can be solved by skipping straight to the Supreme Court of whatever state the crime took place in; they can still appeal to the US Supreme Court, but that would just be one appeal rather than a dozen.
What About Innocent People?
Yes, innocent people are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit, and a lot of the folks on death row are innocent, but that isn’t an argument against capital punishment, it’s an argument against the system that deals it.
Plenty of countries give political dissidents lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines for crimes they never committed, but no one in the right mind would argue that prisons should be abolished all-together and every crime legalized.
We should reform the criminal justice system to be more fair, raise the evidence requirements for the death penalty, and kick out corrupt, establishment politicians. We should not abolish the death penalty.
Furthermore, how many innocent people die because criminals are let out only to do it again? How many innocent people are raped or murdered because the punishment isn’t harsh enough to deter it?
The Death Penalty is Not Cruel & Unusual Punishment
An argument people bring up often is that the death penalty is “cruel and unusual punishment.” This argument is intended to prompt the Supreme Court to declare the practice unconstitutional, legislating from the bench (which is unconstitutional in of itself).
The Eighth Amendment simply states:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The founders did not write this to ban the death penalty, which remained legal after the Constitution’s ratification.
Furthermore, the term “cruel” was intended to ban torture, at a time when punishments like being hanged, drawn, and quartered where still on the books in some countries.
Just six years before the Constitution was ratified: Great Britain had given a man, David Tyrie, such a fate for selling information to the French. There’s no evidence the framers knew of this specific execution, but they likely had the method in mind.
The term “unusual” pertains to proportionality; the punishment should fit the crime. It would probably be unconstitutional to put someone to death for stealing your smart-phone, but I can’t think of a punishment more fitting of a murderer than having his own life taken.
The death penalty is necessary for the safety and security of our Nation. It deters crime with a sufficiently high risk, prevents re-offense (as dead men can’t murder or rape), and is cheaper than life in prison, provided the method is hanging.
Innocent people are put to death, but that isn’t an argument against capital punishment, it’s an argument against the system, which is in need of much reform. Furthermore, it is not cruel and unusual punishment.
Dave Roos. “The ‘Hanged, Drawn and Quartered’ Execution Was Even Worse than You Think”. howstuffworks, 29 Jun. 2021, https://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/hanging-drawing-and-quartering.htm. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.
Congress.gov. “Eighth Amendment Annotated” Constitution of the United States, https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-8/. Accessed 14 Oct. 2021.