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Rehabilitation, Not Capital Punishment

The death penalty is the punishment used in 38 states, and many other countries, as a way of disposing the people in society who are mentally or emotionally disturbed, love their families very much, have a bad temper, or just plain made a mistake. These reasons account for many homicides that take place each year. Capitol Punishment is just not humane and should not be legal. The argument most often used to support the death penalty in former-Soviet republics is the necessity of having a particularly efficacious deterrent against murders and other common crimes.

However, none of the many studies about the matter have been able to show that death penalty is more of a deterrent than other punishments. It’s completely wrong to think that most of those who commit serious crimes such as murders consider the consequences of their actions. Murders are often committed when the criminal is blinded with passion, when emotions prevail over reason. They are sometimes committed under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or in panic moments, when the culprit is discovered while he steals, as I mentioned already.

Some murderers have very serious psychiatric problems or are mental patients. In none of these cases is it possible that the fear to be sentenced to death could act as an effective deterrent. There is another heavy limit. One who plans a crime rationally can choose to go on, although he knows the risk he’s running, thinking that he won’t be discovered. Most of the criminologists assert that the best way to discourage murderers isn’t increasing the severity of punishment, but increasing the possibility of discovering the crime and condemning the culprit.

This will take care of the truly deserving people, who know and understand what they are doing. Sometimes death penalty has opposite effects to the ones wanted. Those who know they risk to be sentenced to death can be encouraged to kill the witnesses of their crime or anyone who could be able to identify and incriminate them. To prevent their own death, they would kill again, and eventually get away with the preliminary murder. Data about crime in abolitionist countries doesn’t prove at all that the abolishment of death penalty has provoked its rise.

In 1988 the UN Board for Crime Prevention conducted a study with existing data about the relation between death penalty and murder rate, concluding that: “The study couldn’t offer scientific support to the thesis that capital punishment produces better results than life imprisonment and it’s unlikely that evidence of it will be soon available. Even data, in fact, doesn’t help thesis of deterrence. ” Also, for the fifteen-year period in which California carried out an execution every other month (1952 to 1967), murder rates increased 10% annually, on average.

Between 1967 and 1991, when there were no executions in California, the murder rate increased 4. 8% annually. The study also found that, in the four months preceding a well-known killer’s execution, the average monthly number of homicides in California was 306. In the four months following his highly publicized execution, an average of 333 persons fell victim to homicides, an astonishing 9% increase. This shows that the death of a fellow murderer had no effect on whether or not they would commit the crime. It proves that the death penalty isn’t an effective deterrent.

Another reason why capitol punishment isn’t a good idea is that we can never really be sure who committed a murder, and so we must leave open the possibility that we might later reverse a conviction and thus need to apologize to the person who was wrongly convicted and imprisoned. In recent Canadian history, we have a couple of such cases. There was many times in my own childhood where I took the last cupcake, or spilled my milk. Not all of these times was I held accountable for my misdeed. The younger brother usually received the punishment that I deserved.

This can also happen with murder, only death is permanent and “time out” is not. What do we say to the families of the innocently punished when such evidence comes forward to prove that their loved one was wrongly executed? There is nothing we can do or say to excuse ourselves. In conclusion, the death penalty is not right because it does not serve the purposes that it is intended to serve. I have proved that it is not an effective deterrent, but it also removes people from the world who can be rehabilitated in a proper institution.

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