Death penalty , which is also known as death penalty is the legal process in which people arte put to death by the judiciary arm of the government as a punishment for the crime they have committed. While most states allow the process of death penalty on the basis that it is a good deterrent to the others would be offenders. However I am of the opinion that the death penalty is not very effective in preventing or stopping crimes in the society. This is because, according to the research compiled in death penalty information center, the states without the death penalty have had lower crime rates consistently when compared to the states with death penalty. This reason that indicates that death penalty is not effective in preventing murder. As such more mechanism should be put in place to reduce the crime of murder in the state and country by arresting and educating the criminals so that they could get the opportunity to be responsible members of the society (Bedau, & Cassell, 2004).
The other reason is the fact that very innocent people could be killed for the crimes they did not commit especially when they fail to prove their innocence. There are many people who have been later presumed to be innocent after they have been executed for a certain murder case. Capital punishment is irreversible in such instances, it is not possible to restore the person back to life when the evidence is available showing they did not commit the murder act. On the other hand, had they been put in prison system and be undergoing reform, they wrongly convicted persons have the chance to find justice when they are released and restored back to their families (Costanzo, 2004).
Another argument against the use of death penalty as a way of punishing murder criminals is that the act is against the human rights. The fact that a person has been proved to have committed monstrous crimes that not imply that any person in the court system has the right to end their lives. All human are equal and have one life. No one gives any body a right to murder or kill the person who ahs committed to murder. It just leads to lose of more humans who could have been reformed and retrained in the prison system to be more productive members of the society. Is there any logic in killing people who have murdered another to show other people with the same intention that the killing is wrong? It is not the best tool to use for deterrence or punishment by the time someone decides to kill another, he or she is not very normal (Costanzo, 2004).
In the international system, the death penalty as a way of punishment has been abolished in about 139 countries around the world. As a result, it indicates that there are only 54 countries and territories that have stuck to the use of capital punishment for even the small ordinary crimes that are found in every society. This is a good tool in dictatorial society for ensuring obedience and control of the subjects by instilling fear and intimation. This should not be the case in the modernized democratic countries with established law on human rights (Bedau & Cassell, 2004).
The studies that have been done to investigate the effect of death penalty on the murder rate show varying results. Fort instance, while in the early 1980s when the death penalty was returned in the USA there was a decrease in the number of murders committed, later there was an increase in murder when the executions stabilized in the mid 1980s to a about 20 executions per year. Later in the 1990s when the number of executions of the people who had committed murder increased, the number of murder crimes plummeted. Since the year 2001, there has been fewer executions and increase in the number of the crimes of murder. While this statistics have been used by other in a simplistic way to argue for the benefits of the death penalty in keeping the society safe. There are a number of other related factors that contributes to the rise or fall of the murder crimes. All this should be looked into for the argument for death penalty to stand. It is my view that deterrence in itself does not contribute in any way to reduction of murder crime. This is because the person who is planning to commit murder does not take time to contemplate not to commit the murder due to the probability of facing death penalty and consider to do the crime if the punishment is imprisonment for life without parole. This is because the person who commits murder does not envisage getting caught in the first place. Secondly, the perpetrators of murder do not always way the consequences of their actions and if they did, they will be persuaded by personal quilt and convictions to go ahead with the crime (Costanzo, 2004).
The statics available indicate that the states without the capital punishment law have consistently reported low crime rate when compared with the other states. This shows that the reason for increase or reduction of murders in the state is not determined by the number of conviction as the available statistics indicates. While it is true that the fear of death will cause some people to hesitate in committing murder, it is not enough to keep one from committing the act especially when one is under rage. A survey carried out among the world top criminologist indicates that 88.2% do not believe that the death penalty is an effective deterrent of crime in the society. While only 9.2% answered that the statistics showing that death penalty significantly reduces the number of murder crime in the society was accurate (Costanzo, 2004). This shows that less that ten percent of the experts polled in the study believed that the effects of deterrence by the death penalty is more effective than the one brought by a long term of imprisonment.
According to the American civil liberties union study, the death penalty has been found to have very little deterrent effect not worthy of taking someone’s life at all Bedau & Cassell 2004). This is because; the people who commit murder are under heat of passion, while a number have been found being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are others who are mentally ill. All these people do not think about the consequences of murder. On the other hand, the professional executioners who plan the act of murder before hand work very had not to get caught. There are a few self destructive individuals who commit murder with the intention and hope that they will be caught and executed. That is not effective at all.
Bedau, H. & Cassell, P., Debating the death penalty-should America have capital punishment? New York: Oxford University Press.2004.
Costanzo, M.. Psychology applied to law. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.2004