Pro Death Penalty Essay

This essay has a total of 1617 words and 7 pages.

Pro Death Penalty



The practice of putting certain convicted felons to death is a precedent that dates far
back to early civilization. Unfortunately, it has become a very controversial issue in
the United States over the last century. The death penalty was put into place for a
number of reasons, but the biggest being the deterrent effect of capital punishment. Some
would say that the death penalty does not deter murder. In 1985, economist Stephen K.
Layson at the University of North Carolina published a study that showed that every
execution of a murderer deters, on average, 18 murders. The study also showed that raising
the number of death sentences by one percent would prevent 105 murders. However, only 38
percent of all murder cases result in a death sentence, and of those, only 0.1 percent are
actually executed.

During the temporary suspension on capital punishment from 1972-1976, researchers gathered
murder statistics across the country. Researcher Karl Spence of Texas A&M University came
up with these statistics: in 1960, there were 56 executions in the USA and 9,140 murders.
By 1964, when there were only 15 executions, the number of murders had risen to 9,250. In
1969, there were no executions and 14,590 murders, and 1975, after six more years without
executions, 20,510 murders occurred. So the number of murders grew as the number of
executions shrank. More recently, there were 56 executions in the USA in 1995, the most
in one year since executions resumed in 1976, and there has been a 12 percent drop in the
murder rate nationwide.

JFA (Justice for All) reports that in Texas, the highest murder rate in Houston (Harris
County) occurred in 1981 with 701 murders. Since Texas reinstated the death penalty in
1982, Harris County has executed more murderers than any other city or state in the union
and has seen the greatest reduction in murder from 701 in 1982 down to 261 in 1996 - a 63%
reduction.

Anti-Capital Punishment activists claim that there are alternatives to the death penalty.
They say that life in prison without parole serves just as well. Sure, if you ignore all
the murders criminals commit within prison when they kill prison guards and other inmates,
and also when they kill decent citizens upon escape, like Dawud Mu'Min who was serving a
48-year sentence for the 1973 murder of a cab driver when he escaped a road work gang and
stabbed to death a storekeeper named Gadys Nopwasky in a 1988 robbery that netted $4.00.
Fortunately, there is now no chance of Mu'Min committing murder again. He was executed by
the state of Virginia on November 14, 1997.

Another flaw in the system is that life imprisonment tends to deteriorate with the passing
of time. Take the Moore case in New York State for example. In 1962, James Moore raped
and strangled a 14-year-old girl named Pamela Moss. Her parents decided to spare Moore the
death penalty on the condition that he be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Later on, thanks to a change in sentencing laws in 1982, James Moore is eligible for
parole every two years!

If Pamela's parents knew that they couldn't trust the state, Moore could have been
executed long ago and they could have put the whole horrible incident behind them forever.
Instead they have a nightmare to deal with every other year. I'll bet not a day goes by
that they don't kick themselves for being foolish enough to trust the liberal sham that is
life imprisonment and rehabilitation.

Putting a murderer away for life just isn't good enough. Laws change, so do parole boards,
and people forget the past. Those are things that cause life imprisonment to weather away.
As long as the murderer lives, there is always a chance, no matter how small, that he will
strike again. And there are people who run the criminal justice system who are naive
enough to allow him to repeat his crime. Consider the case of Leroy Keith, a recidivist
killer who became a major embarrassment to opponents of capital punishment. In 1934 Keith
appeared at Warren, Ohio. There he walked up to a man named Frederick Griest as he was
sitting behind the wheel of his parked car and shot him dead. Then he opened the car door,
tumbled the slain man onto the pavement, and drove away in the vehicle. For that crime he
was sentenced to death. And appeal resulted in a retrial. Again Keith was convicted and
again he was sentenced to die. Another appeal resulted in the sentence being reduced to
life imprisonment. On March 7, 1956, Keith was paroled. He was then given a
government-mandated job in Youngstown, Ohio, with the Department of the County Engineer.
He lasted there for three days before vanishing. On November 21, 1956, he turned up on
Continues for 4 more pages >>