Studies Show Death Penalty Deters Criminals

Posted by at 12:09PM

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My friend sent me this article today, Studies say death penalty deters crime – Yahoo! News, and I found it pretty interesting. He knows I’m against the death penalty mainly because I believe that it does not deter crime.
The article might change my views. Apparently there have been several studies in the past 6 years that are all suggesting that for in each state, an execution deters between 3-18 homicides. This is accounting for other factors like unemployment data, income per capita and others. I haven’t looked at the studies myself but they sound pretty good – but have attracted a lot of controversy.
So say it’s true – that more executions could prevent more innocent people from dying. Does that necessarily make the death penalty right? Perhaps.
Some things are intrinsically wrong, no matter what the consequences are. For example – we can’t force people to be organ donors even if it means many more people would be able to stay alive.
I think what it boils down to is your opinion on the purpose of sentences for crimes:
1) to prevent other people from doing it
2) to stop those who commit crimes from committing more crimes
3) or to exact punishment on people who commit crimes – to make them “pay”.
Personally I’m with number 2. What’s your take on sentences? On the death penalty?
Good luck with finals everyone! Sign up to blog for the summer!

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5 Responses to “Studies Show Death Penalty Deters Criminals”

  1. Rudy says:

    I do not believe that execution is more of a deterrent than a sentence to life in solitary confinement with little to no stimulation. This second option is more expensive, but it avoids killing people. Sitting in a small cell with no one to talk to, and no news of the outside world (utter removal from the society the offender abused) seems far more terrifying than a few potentially painful seconds and then the end.

  2. Gilbert says:

    I’m with Sunstein. Even if it does reduce the number of murders–which I’d have to read the original articles to make a proper judgement–the moral question is not as clear cut. If you take a utilitarian argument, it is possible to maks a claim that it is morally justified, but I can imagine strong utilitarian arguments against it as well.
    Also, given that, in 2006 there were only 53 executions in only 14 states, I tend to question the statistical significance. Again, I’d have to take a look at the data and methods. To quote Homer Simpson, “Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forfty percent of all people know that.”
    Interesting article. But given the bogus articles on the “debate” of global warming, I’m a little skeptical.

  3. Peter says:

    Shen-
    I hate blogs. I think they are self-serving and ridiculous. In fact, I think that all blogs should be abolished. However, yours is the only exception. It is actually interesting and thought-provoking. Good work, but don’t let it go to your head. We don’t want that dome of yours getting bigger than Hergie’s…

  4. Westwood College Student says:

    I agree with you on the second point of stopping criminals from perpetrating more crimes. But I dissagree with you on the death penalty, I believe the death penalty should still be used in many states. Seventy-five percent of criminals that are release commit a crime because they are institutionalized and do not know how to reintegrate themselves into society. If the death penalty scares potential criminals then I am all for it. Create a preemptive strike before a real one happens. Well that’s my 2 cents for the day.

  5. Melina says:

    i have done a little extra research, and it is 1.6 to 3.8 million dollars more expensive to keep these people alive in solitary confinement. But these criminals have to wait years to be executed! if the executions were immediate, say your only given a trail and one appeal, then murders are less likely to occur, because the criminals face more immediate deaths. Most people do things only thinking about the immediate concequences, so if death was an immediate consequence, then it would eter more people, if you undersstand what i’m trying to say.

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