Statistics Don’t Support Capital Punishment
By JayCoop — Own work — STATES AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT — National Conference of State Legislatures, CC BY-SA 4.0
History has no problem repeating itself when it comes to the issue of the death penalty. Every year the issue of the death penalty surfaces and the argument continues against the vast data in opposition to capital punishment. Consistently studies have shown that the death penalty does not work to deter capital crimes and the methods for administering the death penalty have never been foolproof with regard to not making the recipient suffer. Many proponents of the death penalty do not care that a person would suffer; they justify this suffering by emotional appeal. Proponents say that the criminals showed no mercy to their victims and therefore if the criminal suffers during his or her execution then the pain is justified.
Regardless of where the death penalty has been tried, statistically capital punishment has not worked. “In 2008, 37 persons in nine states were executed — 18 in Texas; 4 in Virginia; 3 each in Georgia and South Carolina; 2 each in Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, and Oklahoma, and 1 in Kentucky” (BJFS, 2008). Yet, in states that do not enforce a death penalty; crimes of murder are consistently lower. “The death penalty does not make communities safer. Wisconsin, which has not had the death penalty for 150 years, has a murder rate that is half that of states like Texas and Florida that use the death penalty frequently” (BJFS, 2008).
Not only has capital punishment done nothing to deter murder, but there is evidence to suggest that the death penalty increases murder. “A New York Times survey demonstrated that the homicide rate in states with capital punishment have been 48% to 101% higher than those without the death penalty” (BONNER, & FESSENDEN, 2000).
There is a vast amount of evidence that the death penalty does not work. As well as the death penalty not working to curb crime there is a vast inconsistency in the manner of administration. It is the responsibility of the state to make sure that capital punishment is administered in a manner that is not cruel and unusual. This constitutional mandate has been stretched legally since the earliest days of the United States. From botched hangings, to lethal injections gone wrong, and even the catastrophe of the first public electrocution that used the electric chair. The chair failed so miserably that the prison attendants had to keep performing the execution over and over again; while the victim slowly cooked to death (Parkinson, 2005).
Many proponents of the death penalty think that if a prisoner suffers during their execution that this is acceptable since the person is being punished for murder. Often proponents use examples of mass murderers such as Ted Bundy to justify the use of capital punishment; stating that recipients’ suffering is nothing by comparison to what Bundy’s victims endured.
Although this is true, there is still the matter of the constitution and the law. We cannot just arbitrarily choose to obey, ignore, or even disregard laws simply because the issue seems correct. This is a slippery legal slope that can lead to worse situations for citizens. When the legal system begins to operate in an emotional manner this action can instigate breakdown of civil rights. What if the police choose to beat a victim like Rodney King because they think he deserves it because he is a drug addict? When society gives into emotional disturbance and what we feel is justifiable, we are stepping backward to a time without Miranda Rights and lynch mobs.
In conclusion, the use of capital punishment has never been proven to curb or deter crime. Because there is no consistent effective means for administering the death penalty, States that use the death penalty, skirt the line of legality. In specific, in any case where a criminal has to suffer while being put to death, this punishment becomes a violation of the 8th amendment.
Therefore, in these instances of suffering, capital punishment becomes a gross violation of human rights.
BJFS, Initials. (2008). Capital Punishment Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cp.htm
DeathPenaltyFacts, . (2000, January 1). FACT SHEET: THE DEATH PENALTY DOES NOT DETER CRIME. Retrieved from http://www.nodeathpenaltywi.org/PDF/Deterrence%20Fact%20Sheet%209%2020%2006.pdf
BONNER, R, & FESSENDEN, F. (2000, September 22). ABSENCE OF EXECUTIONS: A special report.; States With No Death Penalty Share Lower Homicide Rates. The New York Times, A1.
Parkinson, D. (2005, April 22). THE HISTORY OF THE ELECTRIC CHAIR . Retrieved from http://www.ccadp.org/electricchair.htm
Vincent Triola. Tue, Jun 01, 2021. The Death Penalty is Not an Effective Crime Deterrent Retrieved from https://vincenttriola.com/blogs/ten-years-of-academic-writing/the-death-penalty-is-not-an-effective-deterrent