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death penalty - The death penalty is the subject of a very...

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The death penalty is the subject of a very heated and controversial debate. Is it necessary or not? A poll done recently showed that sixty-six percent of Americans support the death penalty; however, support drops fifty percent when voters are offered the alternative of life without parole. The most popular argument cited by those who support the death Penalty is that it deters crime. It is argued that it stops those who murder from ever murdering again and at the same time it deters potential murders from committing the crime. In 1957, sixty-five prisoners were executed and there were about 8,000 murders. In 1980, however, there were no prisoners executed and over 23,000 people were murdered. Some believe that this is strong evidence that executing murderers deters crime. Of the violent criminals that are released, sixty percent will be arrested again within three years. Also, of 2,575 prisoners sentenced to death in 1992, one out of eleven had a prior conviction of homicide. Furthermore, in the 1970's a professor Isaac Ehrlich found through his research that capital punishment does deter crime. Another popular argument is that executing prisoners cost less than life imprisonment. For a criminal to stay in a maximum security prison, it costs over $75,000 a year excluding the medical costs for older prisoners. Their argument is that it is not fair for taxpayers to pay to keep people alive who have taken innocent lives; there 1
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are better uses for our money. Many of those that are for the death penalty believe that the "punishment fits the crime". Retentionists are those who argue for the "eye for an eye" principle. They feel that executions are the only way to satisfy the public and themselves. As far as retentionists are concerned, the criminal brought his punishment upon himself; they deserve what they get. Others argue that putting a murderer to death will give the victim's loved ones a peace of mind. Those who oppose the death penalty have moral, practical, or constitutional reasons for doing so. One reason is that some believe that the death penalty does not deter crime. Consider the fact that those countries such as Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, and Belgium have not carried out executions since the early part of the century and yet these countries have not experienced a rise in crime. When those who use Ehrlich
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