Capital Punishment In The USA

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Capital Punishment in the USA I have decided to write a discursive essay on Capital Punishment in the USA. I was inspired to do so because of recent news of a Nigerian woman who faced death by stoning. Her crime was the birth of a child to a married neighbour, a capital crime? In the year 2000, Eighty-five people were executed. Eighty of them were killed using lethal injection and 5 were put to death by electrocution. The death penalty is a highly controversial topic and the cause of constant argument. I do not believe that Capital Punishment is an effective method of dealing with criminals and I will discuss how I arrived at this decision.

The idea that capital punishment deters murder rests on a straightforward assumption: fear influences people; most people fear death; therefore, the threat of a judicial sentence of death will influence people to refrain from murder.

Unfortunately, the fear of death does not govern people to the degree this assumes. If it did, neither wars nor extreme sports would happen, people would obey speed limits and wear safety belts, and the tobacco industry wouldn't exist. If you want to use the instinct for self-preservation, as a reason capital punishment must work, you have to discount most of history, as well as most contemporary human behaviour. Nor does the deterrence theory account for the most striking homicide statistic: of all forms of homicide, the one that takes place most often, in fact more often than all the others combined, always entails the death of the perpetrator: suicide. People kill themselves more often than they kill anyone else. This fact disproves the argument.

One of the most compelling arguments against capital punishment involves the obvious risk of executing an innocent person, and a number of related...