Death Penalty in the US Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1335 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

DEATH PENALTY is the one form of punishment that makes America appear less democratic and less civilized than it claims to be. With capital punishment, convicts are robbed of their right to life and is solely grounded in the belief that once a criminal, always a criminal. This form of punishment, which has now been removed from all western countries except the United States, shows that an eye for an eye is the only good rule and retribution appears to be the guiding force behind it. We do understand that punishment is required but a civilized society is one where a person is given a chance to make up for his wrong actions. So once punishment has been meted out, the person should be allowed an opportunity to recover and become a useful citizen of the society. There are those who maintain that death penalty acts as a deterrent. "People that favor the death penalty agree that capital punishment is a relic of barbarism, but as murder itself is barbaric, they contend that death is a fitting punishment for it" Jayewardene 87). But several studies have proved that death penalty is not an effective deterrent. "Expert after expert and study after study have emphasized and emphasized the lack of correlation between the threat of the death penalty and the occurrence of violent crime" (Meador 69)

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We can present many cases to prove that death penalty doesn't act as a deterrent and is simply a form of barbarism. There are certainly instances where criminals committed serious offenses and only death appeared to the most befitting punishment. But what if we had given them a chance? What if they had not been executed but given an opportunity to serve the community in a better manner. There is one classic example of forgiveness and the fruits it yielded. That was the case of Leopold and Loeb who were found guilty of cold-blooded murder of a 14-year-old. They deserved death penalty by today's criminal justice standards but instead they were given a second chance. In 1920s, their readmission into the society was seen as a gross error but years later, they proved everyone wrong but becoming truly exemplary citizens. "An inestimable amount of people were directly helped by Leopold and Loeb; both of them making a conscious commitment to atone by serving others" (Horwitz 109).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Death Penalty in the US Assignment

Similarly there is no evidence to prove that death penalty can reduce crime rate or act as a deterrent as we saw in the case of Timothy McVeigh. The man who committed the serious offense of blowing up a building in Oklahoma City resulting in the death of 130 people admitted he was unrepentant and had committed pre-meditated mass murder. What was the point of death penalty then? It will never stop people like Timothy from committing crime. Shouldn't the criminal justice system think of some rehabilitation program that would help bring these criminals back into the society as useful rehabilitated individuals? Even if we admit that death penalty is needed in cases such as that of Timothy McVeigh. There is still a vast body of evidence that proves that in most cases, many innocent people are sitting on the death row. While we had all the required evidence against McVeigh to punish him, can we honestly say that about all the 'criminals' who have been awarded death sentence? Probably not. It has been found that many death row inmates have ended up in this situation because of "flimsy evidence, jury whim, prosecutorial misconduct or the luck of the draw. Stephen Bright, director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, says that in three capital cases in Houston recently defense lawyers were observed to be sleeping during the trial." (Pooley et al. 1997)

Retribution, recidivism, rehabilitation, lack of evidence, let us put all these arguments aside for time being and see how and why is death penalty is unfair. Study after study has shown that despite all the claims of maintaining justice, death penalty has often… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Death Penalty in the US" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Death Penalty in the US.  (2004, December 5).  Retrieved September 20, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Death Penalty in the US."  5 December 2004.  Web.  20 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Death Penalty in the US."  December 5, 2004.  Accessed September 20, 2021.