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Putting to death people who have been judge to have committed certain
extremely heinous crimes is a practice of ancient standing. But in the United
States, in the latter half of the twentieth century, it has become a very
controversial issue. Changing views on this difficult issue led the Supreme
Court to abolish capital punishment in 1972 but later turned to uphold it again
in 1977, with certain conditions. Indeed, restoring capital punishment is the
will of the people, yet many voices have been raised against it. Heated public
debate have centered on questions of deterrence, public safety, sentencing
equality, and the execution of innocents, among others.

One argument states that the death penalty does not deter murder.
Dismissing capital punishment on that basis would require us to eliminate all
prisons as well because they do not seem to be any more effective in the
deterrence of crime. Others say that states which have the death penalty
have higher crime rates than those that do not. And that a more sever
punishment only inspires more sever crimes. But every state in the union is
different. These differences include population, the number of cities, and the
crime rate. Urbanized states are more likely to have higher crime rates than
states that are more rural. The state that have capital punishment have it
because of their high crime rate, not the other way around.

In 1985, a study was published by economist Stephen K. Layson, at the
University of North Carolina, that showed that every execution of a murderer
deters, on average of 18 murders. The study also showed that raising the
number of death sentences by only 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 United States 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 years without executions, 20,510 murders
occurred. So the number of murders grew as the number of executions
shrank. Spence said:

“While some [death penalty] abolitionists try to face down the results
of their disastrous experiment and still argue to the contrary,
the...[data] concludes that a substantial deterrent effect has been
observed...In six months, more Americans are murdered than have
been killed by execution in this entire century...Until we begin to fight
crime in earnest [by using the death penalty], every person who dies at
a criminal’s hands is a victim of our inaction.”

And 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
1981 down to 261 in 1996 - a 63% reduction, representing a 270%

Also, in the 1920s and 30s, death penalty advocates were known to
refer to England as a means of proving capital punishment’s deterrent effect.
Back then, at least 120 murderers were executed every year in the United
States and sometimes the number reached 200. Even then, England used the
death penalty far more consistently than we did and their overall murder rate
was smaller than any one of our major cities at the time. Now, since England
abolished capital punishment about thirty years ago, the murder rate has
subsequently doubled there and 75 English citizens have been murdered by
released killers.

Abolitionists will claim that most studies show that the death penalty
has no effect on the murder rate at all. But that’s only because those studies
have been focused on inconsistent executions. Capital punishment, like all
other applications, must be used consistently in the United States for decades,
so abolitionists have been able to establish the delusion that it does not deter
at all to rationalize their fallacious arguments. But the evidence shows that
whenever capital punishment is applied consistently or against a small murder
rate it has always been followed by a decrease in murder. There is not an
example on how the death penalty has failed to reduce the murder rate under
those conditions.

So capital punishment is very capable of deterring murder if we allow it
to, but