Capital Punishment

Imagine a man who commits a murder once, is given a fifteen year jail sentence and is returned to the streets where he kills again. He is imprisoned again only to be released. This could happen because one in every ten death row inmates has been convicted of murder at least once before. This means, at least ten percent of death row inmates have been given the chance to rehabilitate in prison and continue to commit violent crimes. This is one of the main reasons the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for all murderers and perpitraters of other violent crimes.

The first reason for this is because of the extreme expense. The cost to house a prisioner is aproximately $22,000 per year. There are 883,593 prisoners in the United States costing American citizens $19.4 billion per year plus $61.7 million for the cost of building 1143 new spaces needed each year. On the other hand it costs nearly nothing to execute a prisoner and there is not a chance of he or she having the potential to kill another innocent victim.

The second reason that I believe capital punishment is appropriate is because of the deterent effects it holds upon crime. In 1885 a study was published by econimist Stephen K. Layson at the university of North Carolina to show how much, if any, the death penalty deters crime. The results showed that every execution of a murderer deters, on average, 18 murderers. There have also been many other interesting studies which showed basically the same results.

Besides the studies provided by Layson, there are several other stories that prove that the death penalty deters crime. On January 17, 1977, Gary Gilmore faced a firing squad at the Utah State Penetentary. In 1976, the year before his execution, there had been fifty-five murders. During 1977 in the wake of Gilmore's execution, there were only forty-four murders, a twenty percent decrease.

Capital punishment has been effective since its beginning. As time goes by more and more people in society begin to go against the thought of killing a human being as a form of punishment, when actually the death penalty can serve as a deterrent much like metal detectors in airports deter plane hijackers. Although keeping someone in jail for life, is indeed a form of punishment, it is costly and does not necessarily achieve the goal intended. With capital punishment perhaps the price of death will not be paid with innocent lives.

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