When looking at the death penalty system in action we see surprising and disturbing things that make us ask if it serves any purpose beyond revenge or retribution. Innocent people have been sentenced to death, lots of them, One hundred and thirty people wrongfully convicted people were sentenced to death and were lucky to be exonerated and released, eventually. DNA, available in less than ten percent of all homicides, cannot guarantee we will not execute innocent people. Obviously, if someone is convicted and later found innocent we can release him from prison, but not from the grave.
Does the death penalty give increased protection against being murdered? This argument for continuation of the death penalty is most likely a deterrent, but it has failed as a deterrent. There is no clear evidence because empirical studies done in the 50’s by Professor Thorsten Sellin, (sociologist) did not give support to deterrence (McClellan, G., 1961).
The death penalty doesn't prevent others from committing murder. No reliable study shows the death penalty deters others. Homicide rates are higher in states and regions that have it than in those that do not. Life without parole, on the books in forty eight states, also prevents reoffending. It means what it says, and spending twenty three of twenty four hours a day locked in a tiny cell is not a picnic. Life without parole costs less than the death penalty.
The death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison. The high costs of the death penalty are for the complicated legal process, and the largest costs come at the beginning, for the pretrial process and for the trial itself. Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, Richard Dieter, states, “The death penalty system is clearly more expensive than a system handling similar cases with a lesser punishment.” The point is to avoid executing innocent people. UTSA Freshman, Ally Gagnon, gives her opinion, “The death penalty isn't...