Views on Capital Punishment. Why for it, why against it?

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wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The main argument in favor of capital punishment has to do with recidivism rates. Many criminals are prone to commit the same crime again when they are released from prison. Criminals who have committed a particularly heinous crime might be recommended for the death penalty to ensure they can never repeat their crime. This is an argument frequently brought up with repeat offenders such as serial killers. Some would argue that that the cost of putting a prisoner to death is less than that of imprisoning them for life. In actuality, this is usually part of the argument against the death penalty. The cost of a dealth penalty trial, death row housing, and other aspects of a capital case are far more expensive than a non-death-penalty case. The other major argument against death penalty cases is usually based on religious beliefs. Some believe that no one has the right to take the life of another for any reason. Others believe as the Quakers (the founders of our legal system) did that it is better to let ten guilty men go free than to punish one innocent. This principle would be against the death penalty because there is a chance that the prisoner is innocent. There are many factors to consider in the area of capital punishment. Cost, recidivism rate, personal beliefs, and possibly innocent prisoners are just a few. One other thing to consider is whether the death penalty is even effective. Some would argue that it prevents that criminal from committing another crime. Others would argue that it does not deter other criminals. Whether you are for or against the death penalty may depend on what you hope for capital punishment to accomplish.