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Does the death penalty play a role in reducing the crime of murder or not.Does the...

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lawman425 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted September 20, 2010 at 7:47 AM via web

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Does the death penalty play a role in reducing the crime of murder or not.

Does the death penalty play a role in reducing the crime of murder or not.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 20, 2010 at 7:52 AM (Answer #2)

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It is really hard to know what sort of an impact the death penalty has on murder rates.  This is because there is no way (at least no politically feasible way) to conduct an experiment that would give a definitive answer.

For example, many states that have the death penalty also have higher rates of murder than states that do not have the death penalty.  Does this prove that the death penalty does not work or would the murder rates in those states be even higher if it were not for the death penalty.

Another problem is that you cannot know if the death penalty would be more of a deterrent if it were carried out more quickly and surely.  If people actually saw that you commit a murder, get sentenced, and are executed two weeks later, might that have more of an impact than our current system where you might wait 18 years before execution?

Neither of these can be tested in the real world, so the death penalty's effect ends up being a matter of faith, not one of fact.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 20, 2010 at 7:59 AM (Answer #3)

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There is no conclusive evidence, although there is a suggestion of an inverse correlation between the death penalty and crime rates, meaning that in the majority of the 36 states that have the death penalty, violent crime is actually higher than in those states that do not have it.  This is not to say that there is without doubt a cause-effect relationship, as many other factors influence the crime rate, including income level, educational opportunities, drug trafficking, etc.

Criminologists tend to suggest that those who commit Aggravated First Degree Murder (murder without motive, or under aggravating circumstances) do not react normally to deterrents.  If you are capable of murder, that is, then the thought of whether a state has the death penalty or not most likely does not enter into the mental equation of whether or not to commit the crime of murder.

The death penalty is, in my opinion, therefore a political and social exercise in which the public's desire for revenge, and politicians' desire for re-election get satisfied.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted September 20, 2010 at 4:23 PM (Answer #4)

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There is no decisive data or statistics available to establish clearly if death penalty contributes to  to reduction of incidence of murders or other crimes punishable by death penalty. As a matter of fact, now experts are questioning the very concept of using punishment as a sole means of preventing crime.

In case of death penalty the punishment can actually add to the crime in some cases. This happens when a person has already committed a crime punishable by death. In such cases the person believes that committing additional crimes will not add to the level of punishment, this way the effect of death penalty as a deterrent is lost. Further, a person facing the prospect of death penalty may be tempted to commit more murders just to avoid detection of original crime.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 23, 2010 at 6:31 PM (Answer #5)

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As other editors have identified, it is very hard to find any tangible proof to argue one way or the other. My own feeling is that it does not, as using the threat of punishment to prevent crime is not effective to my mind. #4 makes the case very clearly in the case of serial killers, when if they feel that they have already "crossed the line" into capital punishment, they will have little worry about murdering more people. #3 raises the interesting issue of the death penalty being more about the public's desire for revenge (much as public hangings used to allow people to express their anger) and politicians' desire to become re-elected.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 27, 2010 at 6:20 PM (Answer #6)

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Here's the problem with the idea of the death penalty as a deterrent to murder.  Most murders are not premeditated or planned out ahead of time.  Studies are clear that murder is generally a crime of passion--meaning emotions such as anger or fear, and motives such as revenge, are the driving force of these acts.  If that's the case, it's just not reasonable to assume a murderer will ever stop to contemplate the consequences of his actions before committing his violent act, whether that's the death penalty or life in prison.  It's hopeful to think of the death penalty as a deterrent, but it's just not reasonable or provable. 

Lori Steinbach

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:37 AM (Answer #7)

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I would agree with auntlori in that the murders that are committed as a crime of passion the murderer is not thinking about the consequences of his actions. In the case of planned murders it must not be too much of a deterrent because they go ahead and commit the murder anyway. I guess I would say the death penalty is not much of a deterrent to murder, more of a way of avenging the death of another human.

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted October 14, 2010 at 10:39 PM (Answer #8)

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I don't think that the death penalty has had any effect on the murder rate in the US. The crime is not usually one of premeditation, and the person is not thinking of the consequences. There are so many other factors involved that come into play but thinking of death is not one of them.

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ali001 | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted October 14, 2010 at 10:53 PM (Answer #9)

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i agree with post 8 that ithas not had much effect. Murders mainly murder people for a reson unless if they have some sought of problem (mentally). The resons can very depending on who what where and how.

note this needs heaps of backround research

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seancarsonross | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 15, 2010 at 2:03 AM (Answer #10)

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You cannot impose law easily, because there are many considerations that will follow. One of it is Country's tradition and religion. If it is againts the religion then the Religious group will be againts on it.

I have a bad experienced in Tampa where I met a car accident. I was shocked because a man just suddenly pass through in front of my car and I hit him. It was reported that man was chased by the owner of a store because of shop-lifting. Then I met a Personal Injury Attorney Tampa based and help me to clean my name. I just realize that this man was layed-off to his company, and in desperate He made that unlawful act. Then the the Attorney tells me that the solution for this country is Education and Country development should be focused, because poverty is the key towards crime.

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kvanesaa93 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 10, 2011 at 10:46 PM (Answer #11)

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I think it violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.besides a criminal is not scared of sentence might create more fear in the minds of criminals...  Why kill a criminal because he killed somebody, what is the difference between us and him?If killing the criminal brings closure to the family, what closure can it really bring knowing that two people are dead now. Death caused a problem and I'm pretty sure it won't be a solution. They lost a loved one how could you feel comfortable knowing someone out there lost another just so you can feel better. wouldn't it be better if that person just rots in jail. it takes 34 million to put someone on death row, but it takes 1 million a year to keep them in jail for life.Every person may have different views, opinions and arguments for the death penalty. So, should death penalty be allowed or should it be abolished?That's for you to read and opine... However let me conclude by saying, the objective of any society is to live peacefully, let live and help to live if we are meting out death penalties which are, of course violent and take away life, then we are violating the fundamental principle of society.

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