Capital Punishment Debates in the United States

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Capital punishment is a legal procedure where a person found guilty of certain crimes receives a death sentence as a punishment for the crime committed. Death sentencing is the judicial decree that results in capital punishment. Whereby, execution is the process of ending the life of the sentenced person. Capital punishment is common in the United States of America. The United States of America administer it for homicide-related crimes, plus other crimes such as drug trafficking crimes that result in murder. When the United States of America was a colony, capital punishment was a prevalent punishment in U.S. However, after independence some states banned it. Currently, there are 33 states in the United States of America, which have legalized capital punishment. In the U.S. states that has legalized capital punishment, they use varied execution methods that differ by jurisdiction in due course. Currently, lethal injection is the one that is being used for execution. In 2008, the United States of America executed 37 people, which marks the minimum number of persons executed per year since 1994. The U. S. executed 46 and 43 people in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Reasons for legalizing Capital Punishment

Despite, capital punishment been common in the United States of America, it has remained a contentious issue for long. Whereas historically, a large number of Americans have supported it, nowadays, a great section of Americans is against it. Formerly, over 80% of the American population supported capital punishment. However, currently there is a strong opposition of capital punishment in the United States of America, which has resulted in about 65 percent supporting it and 35 percent being against it. In addition, approximately 17 states have banned capital punishment in the United States of America. Administering of capital punishment is justified for those convicts found guilty of homicide related crimes, as well as other murders that are punishable through death sentence (Clear, Cole & Reisig, 2011).

Currently, every American has a big burden of the huge taxes they are ought to pay to meet the federal budget. Therefore, making the Americans to pay more taxes to keep these criminal alive is monumentally unfair. About 65 percent of Americans support capital punishment. One of the reasons that make majority of Americans in favor for capital punishment is its contemplated effect of deterring other people in committing similar crimes. However, statistics do not show any correlation of the effects of capital punishment in decreasing the number of homicide crimes. Social science research, logic and firsthand reports are important universal deterrent effects. Some scholars like Bedau and Cassell (2004) believe in logic deterrent, which argues that capital punishment is the most efficient prevention method for capital crimes mainly for people with rational intelligence and unimpaired mental capacity. The social science research concurs with the logic deterrent perception.

Investigation indicates that those states that have death penalty have fewer instances of murder rates than those without. Likewise, firsthand reports show that criminals deliberately opt in dwelling in states that have banned death penalty to commit their crimes. The attribution argument supports the death penalty for anyone who kills an innocent person. Taking the life of an innocent person is so gravies that the perpetrator is justified to die. However, the ant-capital punishment argues against death penalty as it considers it as revenge. Nonetheless, attribution is a theory that argues for capital punishment for those found guilty of capital punishment as an equal punishment of the gravity of the crime committed. In addition, capital punishment is important as it saves innocent lives as the murder may kill again. This is in line with a study conducted of 52,000 prison inmates serving time for murder. The study indicated that approximately 800 inmates had killed about 800 inmates after their convictions. Thus, if the inmates had received capital punishment, the convicts should not have had the opportunities to murder the 800 people (Death Penalty Information Center, 2007).

My stance on capital punishment is that execution of convicted inmates is appropriate in cutting down huge expenses that the state may incur for life imprisonment. Once, one commits a gravies act of murder, s/he loses his/her humanity and do not deserve having a chance to continue living. Although Americans share different religious beliefs concerning capital punishment, my position pertaining to the matter is that capital punishment for murderers is the best strategy to deal with the issue as in accordance to the theory of attribution. Confining murders in prison for the rest of their lives is worse than death sentence (Kronenwetter, 2001). Keeping these criminals alive creates more problems that affect everyone. For instance, keeping them alive will cost the federal government huge expenses in feeding them amongst other expenses. Keeping these criminals alive will require the federal government to build more prisons that will cost the state huge amount of money. Similarly, it calls for employment of more prison wardens, which is an added cost (Maloney, 1999). The extra costs associated with keeping these criminals alive will make the Americans to pay more taxes. Thus, executing these criminals has an economic benefit as the Americans will have a lesser tax burden to pay. Moreover, the state can invest such money for more economic undertakings such as Medicare (Sissom, 2007).

There exist different prepositions about capital punishment. Those Americans who support capital punishment advocate death penalty as a means to decrease the high rates of capital crimes. Their supposition is that capital punishment stops crimes thereby stopping the murder of innocent lives since murders kill again. On the other hand, anti-capital punishments are against death penalty because of the religious and moral reasons that accompany it. Other, critics of capital punishment argues that there is a chance of executing an innocent person and advocate administering of capital punishment to serial killers only (Geraghty, 2003).


The arguments for and against capital punishment are valid on both sides. Over 65 percent of Americans are for capital punishment, whereas less than 35 percent do not support it. The death penalty is a severe punishment and proper investigation is essential before administering such a penalty to avoid executing innocent persons. However, with the high rate of murder cases in states that do not support capital punishment, the federal government should legalize death penalty in deterring capital crime in the United States of America. In addition, the legalization of capital punishment will save the lives of innocent people because murders kill again. Moreover, death penalty is important because it helps in cutting down huge expenses that can accompany banning of death penalty in all states of the United States of America.

Reference List

Bedau, A. & Cassell, G. (2004). Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Case. New York: Oxford University Press.

Clear, T., Cole, G., & Reisig, M. (2011). American corrections. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Davis, T. (2012). Contentious Issues Regarding Capital Punishment. New York: Prentice Hall.

Death Penalty Information Center. (2007). Death Penalty Facts Sheet. Web.

Geraghty, T. (2003). Trying to Understand America’s Death Penalty System and Why We Still Have It. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 94, 1, 209.

Kronenwetter, M. (2001). Capital Punishment: A Reference Handbook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Maloney, J. (1999).The Death Penalty. Web.

Sissom, E. (2007). Is Capital Punishment Justified? Web.

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DemoEssays. "Capital Punishment Debates in the United States." December 24, 2022.