The death penalty is one of the most controversial topics in the criminal justice system. Does it really deter crime? Is it cost effective? Are those being charged being fairly represented? These are a few questions brought to mind when considering the effectiveness of this punitive punishment.
When considering if capital punishment deters death penalty crimes there are many factors to look into. Many views supporting the penalty are simply because people think it saves other lives and cuts down on murder rates. This, however, is untrue. The view that capital punishment deters crime is based on belief, not evidence. (Donohue,Wolfers,2006)
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While some in some states electrocution is illegal, the states that have not ruled it illegal use lethal injection in most circumstances. Only four of the 251 offenders between 2004 and 2008 chose electrocution. This shows that whatever deterrent effect electrocution did have is now irrelevant.
In most conclusions the death penalty has proven to be much less of a deterrent than criminologist have hoped. Most criminologist, even ones supporting capital punishment, will admit that when considering the effectiveness of capital punishment, deterrence is not one of the most effective factors. When it is effective, it is critical to have several executions a year and most states do not use it frequently, if at all.
Another crucial question regarding capital punishment is the cost and whether it is cheaper than life in prison. Studies on the cost of capital punishment conclude that it is, in fact, much more expensive than life in prison. One death sentence is nearly $1 million more than the average life sentence. When considering the economic recession the death penalty's cost, not only to keep the program but to execute the program as well, is substantially more expensive than other punishments. Research shows that states using the death penalty are spending millions for, in the end, the inmate to have his death penalty sentence appealed. The process of trials and appeals are far too expensive compared to a life sentence. Studies in Colorado have proven that capital punishment cases take six times more days in court than those being sentenced life without parole The study also provided information showing that life without parole cases took a total of 526 days to complete cases, while death row cases took near four years longer at 1,902 days
In a released national poll of police chiefs it show the death penalty is the least efficient use of tax payer money. If we replace the death penalty with life without parole, that money could pay for more law enforcement or drug rehabilitation for the thousands of addicted people in our country. These investments save lives and make our tax money worth while. (Dieter,2009) It is clear based on research and professional opinion that capital punishment is not cost effective.
Another significant issue regarding capital punishment's effectiveness is exoneration. It is not unheard of that an offender be released because of innocence. Since 1973 143 alleged offenders have been...