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Debate: Death penalty

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|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style=""| |colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style=""|
-b+===Is it ever justifiable to execute prisoners?===
 +|}
 + 
 +'''YOU''' CAN BECOME AN EDITOR OF THIS PAGE. DEBATEPEDIA IS A WIKI THAT ANYONE CAN EDIT! BE BOLD, CLICK EDIT, AND HELP MAKE THIS PAGE INTO A VALUABLE PUBLIC RESOURCE THAT THOUSANDS WILL READ. SEE THE [[Debatepedia:Getting started (tutorial)| GETTING STARTED TUTORIAL]].
 + 
 +This article is based on a [http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_details.php?topicID=300 Debatabase] entry written by [[User: Eliot Jones| Eliot Jones]]. Because this document can be modified by any registered user of this site, its contents should be cited with care.
 + 
 +{| style="width:100%; height:100px" border="0" align="center"
 +|__TOC__
 +|}
 +{|style="font-size:100%; padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;" cellpadding="5"
 +|-
 +|bgcolor="#F7F7F7" colspan="2" style= "border:1px solid #BAC5FD"|
===Background and Context of Debate:=== ===Background and Context of Debate:===
-bbbb+Close to 90 countries have the death penalty, but nowhere is it debated so often as in the United States where each state can formulate its own policy according to the Constitution. 38 of the 50 states allow the death penalty as a sentence although some, such as Illinois, have recently imposed a moratorium while they study the arguments for and against.
 + 
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|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"| |colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Justice: Can capital punishment be just?===
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +*[[Argument:The death penalty is a proportional punishment for murder| The death penalty is a proportional punishment for murder]]
 +*[[Argument:Murderers forgo their right to life when they take that right from another person| Murderers forgo their right to life when they take that right from another person]]
 +*[[Argument:When the public demands capital punishment it must be executed to maintain a sense of justice being served| When the public demands capital punishment it must be executed to maintain a sense of justice being served]]
 +*'''A just society must value an innocent life over that of an aggressor:''' This notion affords police the right to kill an aggressor in order to protect an innocent life. Nobody disputes this principle. In the courts, this notion can also be applied, defeating the notion that a murder has a right to life like any other innocent person.
 +*The critiques of the death penalty are mostly about implementation problems rather than its principles of justice: Some of the main criticisms of capital punishment are that innocent convicts may be executed and that the form of execution may be faulty and cause the convict excessive pain. Yet, these criticisms are simply a matter of implementation, which can be improved; they are not a matter of the basic principles of justice surrounding capital punishment.
 +*[[Argument:Life without parole is not "more compassionate" than capital punishment| Life without parole is not "more compassionate" than capital punishment]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +*[[Argument:Execution is state-sanctioned killing that devalues the respect we place on human life| Execution is state-sanctioned killing that devalues the respect we place on human life]]: How can we say that killing is wrong if we sanction killing criminals? This argument also includes the notion of an inviolable "right to life".
 +*[[Argument:The justice system can make mistakes, but capital punishment prevents a court from being able to correct mistakes in the name of justice| The justice system can make mistakes, but capital punishment prevents a court from being able to correct mistakes in the name of justice]].
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment violates the notion that it is only appropriate to kill in self-defense| Capital punishment violates the notion that it is only appropriate to kill in self-defense]]
 +*[[Argument:Life imprisonment without parole is better than capital punishment because it allows for a prisoner to develop remorse, repent, and seek forgiveness| Life imprisonment without parole is better than capital punishment because it allows for a prisoner to develop remorse, repent, and seek forgiveness]]
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment is the easy and showy way out for murderers, rather than a fitting punishment| Capital punishment is the easy and showy way out for murderers, rather than a fitting punishment]]
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment is void of compassion| Capital punishment is void of compassion]]
 +*[[Argument:Proportional justice risks leading to extreme forms of punishment such as torture to make sure they fit the crime| Proportional justice risks leading to extreme forms of punishment such as torture to make sure they fit the crime]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Family relief: Do families of victims gain relief or feel compensated by capital punishment?===
 +
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +
 +*'''Without sufficient retribution, the judicial system subjects the victim or victim's family and friends to further brutalization, which amounts to secondary victimisation.'''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_debate]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +
 +
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment does not alleviate the pain of the victim's family and can actually add to it| Capital punishment does not alleviate the pain of the victim's family and can actually add to it]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Public safety: Does capital punishment help protect the public and deter crime?===
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment is 100% effective in preventing a murderer from killing again| Capital punishment is 100% effective in preventing a murderer from killing again]]: There are many instances in which released, paroled, or escaped murderers have gone on to kill again. Capital punishment eliminates this risk. In this way, capital punishment is a powerful force for protecting innocent people.
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment protects more innocents than it does accidentally take the life of innocent convicts| Capital punishment protects more innocents than it does accidentally take the life of innocent convicts]]
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment has a deterrent effect on criminal activities| Capital punishment has a deterrent effect on criminal activities]] As a deterrent to others, it depends on how effectively the death penalty is applied; in the USA where less than 1% of murderers are executed, it is difficult to assess the true effect of deterrence. But for example, a 1985 study (Stephen K. Layson, University of North Carolina) showed that 1 execution deterred 18 murders.
 +*It is not proper to conclude that more executions cause higher crime rates with the limited information available. The first piece of evidence doesn't really prove anything. When there is more crime, there are more convictions. The fact that there was a higher murder rate during those 15 years EXPLAINS why there would need to be more criminal executions. The California statistic doesn't show that the increased murder rate resulted from the increased execution rate, rather than the other way round.
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +
 +*[[Argument:Life without parole protects society from repeat murders just as well as capital punishment| Life without parole protects society from repeat murders just as well as capital punishment]]
 +
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment does not deter crime| Capital punishment does not deter crime]]
 +
 +*By devaluing life, executions can make potential-criminals more comfortable with the idea of killing another person: If state-sanctioned killings are occurring, might an individual feel more justified in murdering another person? If governments of men can take the power of life-and-death into their hands, might this make a man more comfortable with also taking that power into his own hands?
 +
 +*Capital punishment has a "brutalizing effect" that increasing the willingness of criminals to take life:[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_debate]
 +
 +*'''Higher execution rates can actually increase violent crime rates:''' California averaged 6 executions a year from 1952 to 1967, and had twice the murder rate than the period from 1968 until 1991 when there were no executions. In New York, from 1907 to 1964, months immediately following an execution showed a net increase of two murders - an average over a 57-year period.
 +
 +*[[Argument:Deterrence is a poor justification for capital punishment, as it justifies the means by the ends| Deterrence is a poor justification for capital punishment, as it justifies the means by the ends| Deterrence is a poor justification for capital punishment, as it justifies the means by the ends| Deterrence is a poor justification for capital punishment, as it justifies the means by the ends]]
 +
 +*[[Argument:Relying on the death penalty as a deterrent distracts us from solving the underlying causes of violence and crime| Relying on the death penalty as a deterrent distracts us from solving the underlying causes of violence and crime]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Innocent convicts: Is there no real threat that innocent people will be falsely convicted and executed?===
 +
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +
 +*[[Argument:The extreme rarity of mistaken executions of innocent makes it a minor factor against death penalty| The extreme rarity of mistaken executions of innocent makes it a minor factor against death penalty]]
 +
 +*[[Argument:Due process is all that is required, even if it risks wrongful execution| Due process is all that is required, even if it risks wrongful execution]]
 +
 +*[[Argument:Exoneration from death row is not proof of innocence, but rather the lack of proof of guilt| Exoneration from death row is not proof of innocence, but rather the lack of proof of guilt]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +
 +*[[Argument:The risk of executing an innocent person is too high to justify capital punishment| The risk of executing an innocent person is too high to justify capital punishment]]
 +
 +*[[Argument:The justice system can make mistakes, but capital punishment prevents a court from being able to correct mistakes in the name of justice| The justice system can make mistakes, but capital punishment prevents a court from being able to correct mistakes in the name of justice]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Fair application: Is capital punishment fairly applied in practice, or is it a platform for discrimination in the law?===
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +
 +*[[Argument:Race is not a significant factor in capital punishment cases| Race is not a significant factor in capital punishment cases]]
 +
 +*If and when discrimination occurs in capital punishment cases, it should be corrected: Consistent application of the death penalty against murderers of all races, and in cases where the victims were of all races, would abolish the idea that it can be a racist tool. This could be done by making it mandatory in all capital cases.
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +*[[Argument:Implementation of the death penalty can suffer from social or racial bias and prejudice| Implementation of the death penalty can suffer from social or racial bias and prejudice]]. In the USA nearly 90% of those executed were convicted of killing whites, despite the fact that non-whites make up more than 50% of all murder victims. The big problem here is that the death penalty is final with no room for redress or compensation in the event that racial bias leads to a death sentence.
 +
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment is excercised irregularly and arbitrarily| Capital punishment is excercised irregularly and arbitrarily]]
 +
 +*[[Argument:Wealth and the ability to hire good lawyers unfairly influences the outcome of capital punishment trials| Wealth and the ability to hire good lawyers unfairly influences the outcome of capital punishment trials]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Costs: Is capital punishment economically justifiable and cost-effective? ===
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +*Opponents of the death penalty prefer to ignore the fact that they themselves are responsible for its high costs, by causing a never-ending succession of appeals:
 +
 +*Prisons in many countries are over-crowded and under-funded, and this problem is made worse by life sentences or delayed death sentences for murderers. Many of the costs of over-crowding of prisons are intangible, or they accrue to the prisoners themselves in jails and prisons who are unfairly harmed by the conditions.
 +
 +*Why should the taxpayer bear the cost of supporting a murderer for an entire lifetime? Even if the costs of an execution are greater due to the appeal processes, there is a symbolic difficulty with taxpayers paying to fully support the ongoing life of a murderer.
 +
 +*[[Argument:The higher costs of capital punishment are irrelevant given the importance of the issue| The higher costs of capital punishment are irrelevant given the importance of the issue]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +*[[Argument:Capital punishment costs more than life without parole| Capital punishment costs more than life without parole]] Studies in the US show that capital cases, from arrest to execution, cost between $1 million and $7 million. A case resulting in life imprisonment costs around $500,000.
 +
 +*How are opponents of the death penalty to blame? Capital cases cost more on average than housing a criminal for life because criminals are motivated to make frivolous appeals that delay their execution. Why should the taxpayer pay more per criminal when they could pay less?
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Mentally ill: Can the execution of the mentally ill ever be justified? If not, can capital punishment still be justified? ===
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +*Executing the mentally ill is a cultural question, but it does not bring into question the broader principles of capital punishment. Different countries and societies can have different attitudes towards the justifiability of executing mentally incompetent or teenaged murderers. If society is against such executions, then in cases where they happen it is a problem with the implementation of capital punishment. For opponents to seize on such cases is to cloud the issue; this is not an argument against the principle.
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +*There is a heightened risk of false convictions with the mentally retarded: Defendants who are mentally incompetent will often answer "Yes" to questions in the desire to please others, which can lead to false confessions. Over 30 mentally retarded people have been executed in the USA since 1976.
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Rehabilitation: Would it possible and appropriate to reserve capital punishment for those that are considered incapable of rehabilitation?===
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +*Capital punishment may be appropriately reserved for those that are beyond rehabilitation: It may be that capital punishment should be reserved for serial killers, terrorists, murderers of policemen and so on.
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +*[[Argument:By executing criminals society rules out the possibility of rehabilitation and productivity| By executing criminals society rules out the possibility of rehabilitation and productivity]] Killers may repent of their crime, serve a sentence as punishment, and emerge as a reformed and useful member of society. One of the most cited examples of this (provided on the argument page) is Tookie Williams, a reformed and socially productive former Cript murderer.
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#f2f2f2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Religious arguments: ?===
 +
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +
 +*[[Argument:The religious case for capital punishment| The religious case for capital punishment]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +
 +*[[Argument:The religious case against capital punishment| The religious case against capital punishment]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#f2f2f2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Activist groups===
 +
 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Yes====
 +
 +*[http://www.cjlf.org/ Criminal Justice Legal Foundation] - Pro-Death Penalty Organization
 +*[http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/ ProDeathPenalty.com] - Pro-Death Penalty Database
 +*[http://www.dpinfo.com/ DPInfo.com] - Pro-Death Penalty Database
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====No====
 +
 +*[http://www.quixote.org/ej/ Equal Justice USA] - Catholic Anti-Death Penalty Organization
 +*[http://www.schr.org/ Southern Center for Human Rights] - Anti-Death Penalty Organization
 +*[http://www.innocenceproject.org/ Innocence Project] - Anti-Death Penalty Organization
 +*[http://www.moratorium2000.org/ The Moratorium Campaign] - Anti-Death Penalty Organization
 +*[http://www.ncadp.org/ National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty] - Anti-Death Penalty Organization
 +*[http://www.aclu.org/ American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)] - Civil Libertarian Organization
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
==References:== ==References:==
-bbbbb+ 
-nho+==Motions:==
 +* This House supports the death penalty
 +* This House would take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life
 + 
==In legislation, policy, and the real world:== ==In legislation, policy, and the real world:==
-dfsgfwetrsacdsdfasfsdFGDGDFGDGD+ 
==See also on Debatepedia:== ==See also on Debatepedia:==
-no+==External links and resources:==
-sdfsdfsdfsdfdfsdf+*[http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/us/18deter.html?exprod=myyahoo ''New York Times''] article summarizing recent research on whether Capital punishment saves lives.
 +*[http://www.derechos.org/dp/ Derechos Human Rights: Death Penalty Links]
 +*[http://www.facts.com/cd/i00015.htm Issues and Controversies: The Death Penalty]
 +*[http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/dp/ Amnesty International and the Death Penalty]
 +*[http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/ Death Penalty Information Center]
 +*[http://deathpenaltycurriculum.org/ Educational Curriculum on the Death Penalty] - High School
 +*[http://www.capitalpunishmentincontext.org/ Capital Punishment in Context] - College Level Curriculum
 +==Books;==
 +* [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0894908995/interntionaldeba/104-5333130-0270319 Capital Punishment: The Death Penalty Debate] : Ted Gottfried
 +* [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0836190750/interntionaldeba/104-5333130-0270319 Against the Death Penalty: Christian and Secular Arguments against Capital Punishment] : Gardner Hanks
 +* [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0847686337/interntionaldeba/104-5333130-0270319 The Death Penalty: For and Against] : Louis Pojman
 +* [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/031215559X/interntionaldeba/104-5333130-0270319 Just Revenge: Costs and Consequences of the Death Penalty] : Mark Costanzo
 +|}
 +[[Category:Debatabase]]
 +[[Category:Moral]]
 +[[Category:Legislation and policy]]
 +[[Category:Individual rights]]
 +[[Category:United States]]
 +[[Category:Life and death]]
 +[[Category:2008 US presidential elections]]

Revision as of 22:37, 27 December 2007

Is it ever justifiable to execute prisoners?

YOU CAN BECOME AN EDITOR OF THIS PAGE. DEBATEPEDIA IS A WIKI THAT ANYONE CAN EDIT! BE BOLD, CLICK EDIT, AND HELP MAKE THIS PAGE INTO A VALUABLE PUBLIC RESOURCE THAT THOUSANDS WILL READ. SEE THE GETTING STARTED TUTORIAL.

This article is based on a Debatabase entry written by Eliot Jones. Because this document can be modified by any registered user of this site, its contents should be cited with care.

Contents

Background and Context of Debate:

Close to 90 countries have the death penalty, but nowhere is it debated so often as in the United States where each state can formulate its own policy according to the Constitution. 38 of the 50 states allow the death penalty as a sentence although some, such as Illinois, have recently imposed a moratorium while they study the arguments for and against.




Justice: Can capital punishment be just?

Yes




No




Family relief: Do families of victims gain relief or feel compensated by capital punishment?

Yes

  • Without sufficient retribution, the judicial system subjects the victim or victim's family and friends to further brutalization, which amounts to secondary victimisation.[1]




No





Public safety: Does capital punishment help protect the public and deter crime?

Yes

  • Capital punishment is 100% effective in preventing a murderer from killing again: There are many instances in which released, paroled, or escaped murderers have gone on to kill again. Capital punishment eliminates this risk. In this way, capital punishment is a powerful force for protecting innocent people.
  • Capital punishment protects more innocents than it does accidentally take the life of innocent convicts
  • Capital punishment has a deterrent effect on criminal activities As a deterrent to others, it depends on how effectively the death penalty is applied; in the USA where less than 1% of murderers are executed, it is difficult to assess the true effect of deterrence. But for example, a 1985 study (Stephen K. Layson, University of North Carolina) showed that 1 execution deterred 18 murders.
  • It is not proper to conclude that more executions cause higher crime rates with the limited information available. The first piece of evidence doesn't really prove anything. When there is more crime, there are more convictions. The fact that there was a higher murder rate during those 15 years EXPLAINS why there would need to be more criminal executions. The California statistic doesn't show that the increased murder rate resulted from the increased execution rate, rather than the other way round.





No

  • By devaluing life, executions can make potential-criminals more comfortable with the idea of killing another person: If state-sanctioned killings are occurring, might an individual feel more justified in murdering another person? If governments of men can take the power of life-and-death into their hands, might this make a man more comfortable with also taking that power into his own hands?
  • Capital punishment has a "brutalizing effect" that increasing the willingness of criminals to take life:[2]
  • Higher execution rates can actually increase violent crime rates: California averaged 6 executions a year from 1952 to 1967, and had twice the murder rate than the period from 1968 until 1991 when there were no executions. In New York, from 1907 to 1964, months immediately following an execution showed a net increase of two murders - an average over a 57-year period.



Innocent convicts: Is there no real threat that innocent people will be falsely convicted and executed?

Yes




No




Fair application: Is capital punishment fairly applied in practice, or is it a platform for discrimination in the law?

Yes

  • If and when discrimination occurs in capital punishment cases, it should be corrected: Consistent application of the death penalty against murderers of all races, and in cases where the victims were of all races, would abolish the idea that it can be a racist tool. This could be done by making it mandatory in all capital cases.





No




Costs: Is capital punishment economically justifiable and cost-effective?

Yes

  • Opponents of the death penalty prefer to ignore the fact that they themselves are responsible for its high costs, by causing a never-ending succession of appeals:
  • Prisons in many countries are over-crowded and under-funded, and this problem is made worse by life sentences or delayed death sentences for murderers. Many of the costs of over-crowding of prisons are intangible, or they accrue to the prisoners themselves in jails and prisons who are unfairly harmed by the conditions.
  • Why should the taxpayer bear the cost of supporting a murderer for an entire lifetime? Even if the costs of an execution are greater due to the appeal processes, there is a symbolic difficulty with taxpayers paying to fully support the ongoing life of a murderer.





No

  • How are opponents of the death penalty to blame? Capital cases cost more on average than housing a criminal for life because criminals are motivated to make frivolous appeals that delay their execution. Why should the taxpayer pay more per criminal when they could pay less?





Mentally ill: Can the execution of the mentally ill ever be justified? If not, can capital punishment still be justified?

Yes

  • Executing the mentally ill is a cultural question, but it does not bring into question the broader principles of capital punishment. Different countries and societies can have different attitudes towards the justifiability of executing mentally incompetent or teenaged murderers. If society is against such executions, then in cases where they happen it is a problem with the implementation of capital punishment. For opponents to seize on such cases is to cloud the issue; this is not an argument against the principle.





No

  • There is a heightened risk of false convictions with the mentally retarded: Defendants who are mentally incompetent will often answer "Yes" to questions in the desire to please others, which can lead to false confessions. Over 30 mentally retarded people have been executed in the USA since 1976.




Rehabilitation: Would it possible and appropriate to reserve capital punishment for those that are considered incapable of rehabilitation?

Yes

  • Capital punishment may be appropriately reserved for those that are beyond rehabilitation: It may be that capital punishment should be reserved for serial killers, terrorists, murderers of policemen and so on.




No




Religious arguments: ?

Yes




No





Activist groups

Yes




No




References:

Motions:

  • This House supports the death penalty
  • This House would take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life

In legislation, policy, and the real world:

See also on Debatepedia:

External links and resources:

Books;

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