What are potential arguments for an essay on capital punishment?

Expert Answers
carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The following statements are possible arguments to be made concerning this controversial issue.

  1. Capital punishment does not serve as a deterrent to crime nor does it increase public safety.  
  2. In addition, it is more costly to execute a criminal than it is to imprison them for life.
  3. If there is a chance that the person did not commit the crime, it is unthinkable to carry through with an execution. 

These are the primary arguments against capital punishment.  Probably the easiest to support is the one in which the cost factor makes the life imprisonment a better form of punishment. 

Do you think we’ll ever eliminate the death penalty?

Yeah, eventually we will. It’ll come about because it may be that it’ll just be too costly for us. And costliness is not just in the money, but it will be when people realize that, well, it might even come that it’s too complex in the courts.

A commission in California to determine the best way of handling prisoner convicted of murder or other capital crimes. The purpose was determine the best way to  administration of fair justice.  After a year of research it determined that the death penalty is an economic disaster. 

There appear to be no real benefits from the status quo of executions. It is far less expensive to imprison a person for life without parole then to give a convicted criminal the death penalty.  The costs accrue from the years of appeals that the death row inmates are able to make which are paid for by the states. Sometimes the inmates sit on death row for fifteen years. 

According to the Associations of Police Chiefs, the death penalty shouldonly be a last resort because of the ineffective use of taxpayers’ money. The California Commission stated that if the governor were to commute the prisoners on death row to life without parole, it would result in a savings of $170 million per year.  In addition, there would be long term savings of $5 billion over the next twenty years. 

When comparing the cost of housing the death row inmates versus those serving a life sentence, the death row inmates cost an additional $90,000 per year per inmate.  In 2010, with the current tally of death row inmates the state was spending $63.3 million annually.

Hopefully, one of these potential arguments will work as a thesis for an essay.