Is the death penalty better than life without parole?Is the death penalty better than life without parole?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There can be no resolution to this question.  If there is, the criteria will always be scrutinized and reanalyzed by others.  I would suggest that you gauge what others have to say on the subject, and how you feel regarding these thoughts.  There is a line of logic that suggests that the death penalty is better than life without parole.  It gives comfort and justice to the victims for it represents a statement that the government and society makes to those who transgress against accepted codes of conduct.  At the same time, the argument is made that the state should not support the life through resource allocation of those who do wrong.  On the flipside to this argument would be those who argue that the death penalty is wrong on a variety of legal and moral levels.  One of the best works about this would be Sister Helen Prejean's work, Dead Man Walking.  I tend to think that finding an absolute answer to a question like this is difficult, if not impossible.  Using literature as a way to understand the topic area in a more inclusive manner as well as being able to gauge what others think about it could help bring some level of clarity to a debate that is fettered with divergence.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The death penalty if carried out expeditiously would cut down on prison overcrowding and the cost of housing prisoners. In addition the quick execution (pun kind of intended) of the death penalty might work as a deterrent while bringing faster closure to victim families. On the other hand, the death penalty is permanent, and some convicted criminals have been proven innocent. Some families might think this was too quick of an end to the person who victimized them or their loved ones.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many people argue that the death penalty is cheaper than life without parole.  For a young person, a lifetime of food, medical care and housing in prison can be very costly.  However, the cost of the appeals process is also enormous.  Sometimes a person can be on death row for years and years, costing the state all of the aforementioned in addition to costly appeals.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question will generate all kinds of debate and different opinions. I am on the fence with regards to the death penalty. I do not see it as an effective deterrent to violent crime. Also with the court systems the way they are it some times is nothing more than a life sentence while all the appeals take place.