It creates another form of crime deterrent. Crime would run rampant as never before if there wasn't some way to deter people from committing the acts. Prison time is an effective deterrent, but with some people, more is needed. Prosecutors should have the option of using a variety of punishments in order to minimize crime.
DNA testing and other methods of modern crime scene science can now effectively eliminate almost all uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence. One of the biggest arguments against the death penalty is the possibility of error. Sure, we can never completely eliminate all uncertainty, but nowadays, it's about as close as you can get. DNA testing is over 99 percent effective. And even if DNA testing and other such scientific methods didn't exist, the trial and appeals process is so thorough it's next to impossible to convict an innocent person. Remember, a jury of 12 members must unanimously decide there's not even a reasonable doubt the person is guilty. The number of innocent people that might somehow be convicted is no greater than the number of innocent victims of the murderers who are set free.
Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill. Perhaps the biggest reason to keep the death penalty is to prevent the crime from happening again. The parole system nowadays is a joke. Does it make sense to anyone outside the legal system to have multiple "life" sentences + 20 years or other jiverish? Even if a criminal is sentenced to life without possibility of parole, he still has a chance to kill while in prison, or even worse, escape and go on a crime/murder spree.
It contributes to the problem of overpopulation in the prison system. Prisons across the country face the problem of too many prisoners and not enough space & resources. Each additional prisoner requires a portion of a cell, food, clothing, extra guard time, and so on. When you eliminate the death penalty as an option, it means that prisoner must be housed for life. Thus, it only adds to the problem of an overcrowded prison system.
Financial costs to taxpayers of capital punishment is several times that of keeping someone in prison for life. Most people don't realize that carrying out one death sentence costs 2-5 times more than keeping that same criminal in prison for the rest of his life. How can this be? It has to do with the endless appeals, additional required procedures, and legal wrangling that drag the process out. It's not unusual for a prisoner to be on death row for 15-20 years. Judges, attorneys, court reporters, clerks, and court facilities all require a substantial investment by the taxpayers. Do we really have the resources to waste?
Life in prison is a worse punishment and a more effective deterrent. For those of you who don't feel much sympathy for a murderer, keep in mind that death may be too good for them. With a death sentence, the suffering is over in an instant. With life in prison, the pain goes on for decades. Prisoners are confined to a cage and live in an internal environment of rape and violence where they're treated as animals. And consider terrorists. Do you think they'd rather suffer the humiliation of lifelong prison or be "martyred" by a death sentence?
The possibility exists that innocent men and women may be put to death. There are several documented cases where DNA testing showed that innocent people were put to death by the government. We have an imperfect justice system where poor defendants are given minimal legal attention by often lesser qualified individuals. Some would blame the court system, not that death penalty itself for the problems, but we can't risk mistakes.
It is barbaric and violates the "cruel and unusual" clause in the Bill of Rights. Whether it's a firing squad, electric chair, gas chamber, lethal injection, or hanging, it's barbaric to allow state-sanctioned murder before a crowd of people. We condemn people like Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il when they murder their own people while we continue to do the same (although our procedures for allowing it are obviously more thorough). The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents the use of "cruel and unusual punishment". Many would interpret the death penalty as violating this restriction.
95 countries do not allow the death penalty 58 countries allow for and use the death penalty 35 countries allow for but do NOT use the death penalty (last 10 years) 9 countries allow for the death penalty in certain extreme cases only There are 35 states in the USA with the death penalty and 15 without
The USA, Japan, and China are the only developed nations that allow for death penalty for normal law Not counting China (doesn’t give data but suspected to be in the 1 000s) there were 714 executions in 2009 – Iran (388), Iraq (120), Suadi Arbai (69), USA (52), Yemen (30) Since 1973, over 130 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence.
Stoning to Death How It Works: The prisoner is buried either up to his waist (if male) or up to her shoulders (if female) and then pelted with stones by a crowd of volunteers until obviously battered to death. Under the terms of most fundamentalist courts, the stones must be small enough that death cannot reasonably be expected to result from only one or two blows, but large enough to cause physical harm. The average execution by stoning is extremely painful, lasting at least 10 to 20 minutes.
Death by Beheading How It Works: The victim is restrained, usually forced to kneel, and the executioner removes the head by way of a sword or knife. In renaissance- era Europe (most famously in the aftermath of the French Revolution), the process was automated by way of a device called a guillotine, which dropped a heavy blade through the prisoner's neck--allowing for a clean, instant decapitation. Complications: Beheading can actually be a fairly humane form of punishment, provided that the executioner is strong and reasonably competent. When the executioner is less strong or less competent than would be desirable, however, death can be slow and excruciatingly painful as it would take several tries to remove the head.
Hanging How It Works: The prisoner stands on trapdoor, and a rope descends from a wooden beam overhead. The rope is fastened around the prisoner's neck in a "Hangman's noose," which tightens when pulled upon. The executioner pulls a lever opening the trapdoor and dropping the prisoner, who ideally dies quickly due to a broken neck. Complications: The length of the rope must be carefully calibrated in proportion to the prisoner's weight. If the rope is too short, insufficient velocity is generated to break the prisoner's neck and the prisoner is painfully strangled to death. If the rope is too long, excessive velocity is generated and decapitation may result. Even if the rope is of exactly the right length, a prisoner with an exceptionally large or strong neck may suffer strangulation rather than immediate death.
Firing Squad How It Works: Firing squad executions are so incredibly rare in the United States that it is difficult to speak of a standard operating procedure, but historically the victim is strapped to a chair, five sharpshooters aim at the victim's heart, and all five pull the trigger. One of the sharpshooters is secretly armed with a blank round, which means that each shooter can rest comfortably in the knowledge that there is a 20% chance that she never shot the prisoner. Complications: Although both modern firing squad executions went smoothly, it was not unheard of in the past for all five rounds to penetrate the prisoner without killing him--requiring a sixth shooter to fire a round at close range to put the prisoner out of his misery.
Electric Chair How It Works: The prisoner is shaved, strapped to a chair, and fitted with electrodes attached to conductive sponges--one on the head, one on the leg--creating a direct current. The prisoner is then hooded. The executioner pulls a switch, and 2,000 volts race through the prisoner's body as the internal body temperature approaches 140 degrees resulting in brain death. A second lower surge quickly follows that causes the heart to misfire resulting in a heart attack. If performed correctly, the procedure is supposed to cause immediate unconsciousness followed by near- instantaneous death. Complications: The procedure is extremely gruesome to contemplate, and can burn conscious prisoners alive if performed incorrectly. Horrific accounts of botched electrocutions have essentially made the electric chair a relic of the past, an option selected by prisoners who fear lethal injection or simply want a more distinctive exit.
Gas Chamber How It Works: The prisoner is strapped to a chair inside a sealed gas chamber. The executioner (standing outside of the chamber) pulls a lever dropping potassium cyanide pellets into a vat of sulfuric acid, flooding the chamber with lethal hydrogen cyanide gas. Complications: Death can be extremely slow and painful, as demonstrated in several high- profile executions from the 1980s and 1990s. One of the more infamous was that of Jimmy Lee Gray in 1983, who frantically gasped, moaned, and slammed his head into a steel pipe for ten minutes as the cyanide slowly took effect. In 1996, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that execution by poison gas constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Lethal Injection How It Works: The executioner, usually a person injecting the drugs manually (lethal injection machines are no longer in widespread use due to the possibility of mechanical failure), injects three drugs in sequence: 5g Pentothol (sodium thiopental), which is intended to induce a coma. 100mg Pavulon (pancuronium bromide), which causes paralysis. 100 mEq potassium chloride, which stops the heart. Complications: Pentothol does not always induce a coma, leaving the disturbing possibility that at least some prisoners killed by lethal injection may experience extreme pain due to the administration of potassium chloride--without any means of expressing that pain, thanks to the paralysis brought about by the Pavulon. For this reason, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hill v. Crosby (2006) that death row prisoners may challenge lethal injection procedures under the Eighth Amendment.