Two thirds of all Americans feel that capital punishment is needed as a penalty for violent offenders(Stewart), as I do. Criminals need to know that their actions will reap grave consequences and that our country will enforce, and carry out, these penalties. If a criminal knows that they will not have to face capital punishment, then what is there to stop them from committing the crime in the first place?
Opponents of the death penalty claim that capital punishment is not a deterrent to violent offenders. I say that it is a great way to help prevent violent crimes, and the nationwide study performed in 2003 by professors at Emory University backs up my opinion. This study found that for every death sentence that is carried out it stops an average of 18 murders (Lowe). As you can see, this number over time will add up. Of course there are other studies, such as the 2003 study performed by Naci Moean of the University of Colorado, which states that one execution will stop five murders from happening. There have been numerous studies over the years, and each one claims a different amount of violent crimes that are prevented. The point here is that all of the studies say that capital punishment is a proven way to deter criminals from committing violent crimes.
People fighting against the death penalty also state that when you carry out a death sentence you are actually committing murder. I say that murder, as stated in the dictionary, is “The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice” (Dictionary.com). Capital punishment is not murder because it is lawfully handed down as a sentence to violent criminals. Opponents continually bring this topic into any discussion that pertains to capital punishment, and all they have to do is open a dictionary in order to see that they really don’t know what they are talking about.
Another issue that always comes up when you talk about capital punishment is the fact that the Bible says that you “shalt not kill”. However, if you dig into the Bible a little deeper, you will find this does not pertain to the death sentence, it only refers to the act of murder in itself. If you read Gen 9:1-7 it states that “whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God he made man”(Howard). This means that God not only made humans to look like him, but also to act like him. According to this statement you can see that God condones capital punishment because if people can not act in an honorable and legal fashion, then the punishment needs to fit the crime.
Why not simply give violent offenders life in prisoner instead of a death sentence? Besides the obvious reason of the numerous amounts of killings in prisons every day, the overcrowding in our penal systems allows inmates to receive a chance to get paroled, no matter what their sentence may be. According to Steven D. Stewart, the Prosecuting Attorney for Clark County, Indiana, a defendant sentenced to life imprisonment across the country will serve an actual sentence of less than 8 years. The death penalty is the only way to ensure that a violent criminal is not released back into the general public. Three examples of a life sentence not working are the cases of; Dawud Mu’Min, James Moore, and Kenneth McDuff. They were all convicted of rape, murder, or both and they were either released by the over crowded prisoners or they escaped. In all these cases they immediately committed the crimes in which they had been sentenced for in the first place. If they had been executed the first time they had been convicted, it would have saved innocent lives.
In conclusion I would like to say that capital punishment is a valuable and necessary tool in the United States. Criminals need to know that their actions will produce a punishment that fits the crime.
Dictionary.com Definition of murder dictionary.com
Steven D. Stewart A Message From The Prosecuting Attorney Clark County Attorney’s Office
Kevin Howard Christians and Capital Punishment Need Not Fret
Wesley Lowe Pro Death Penalty Page Pro Capital Punishment