ProDeath Penalty





Are we effectively punishing our most vile and baneful criminals? I believe some improvement to be necessary; the death penalty should be legalized in all states. The United States should utilize the capital punishment because it is economical and has deterring and incapacitating effects. While life with no parole sentencing is a valid alternative, the death penalty is in public favor, ruled as constitutional, is humane, and allows convicts many opportunities to appeal.
While many people will claim that too many inmates are executed, the national death row currently has a population of 3726 criminals, consisting of 3669 men and 57 women, and only 712 convicts have been executed since 1976. In 2000, 85 criminals were executed and 26 executed so far in 2001 (MSU online). According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report and Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 560,000 murders and 358 executions have taken place from 1967 to 1996.
In comparison to life sentencing, the death penalty is far more economical as well. Life without parole costs $5.53 million per prisoner while death penalty costs only $1.91 million per prisoner. While immediate costs of capital punishment make it seem a more expensive punishment, the drawn out costs of life sentences greatly exceed them; factors such as increasing prison, medical, and geriatric costs add to costs of life without parole cases (www.prodeathpenalty.com).
Innocent people have not been executed either. Criminals on death row have been convicted of brutal, heinous crimes and murders and are not “model citizens.” There has not been a case in which an inmate sentenced to death was found innocent postmortem. Inmates whose innocence is proven while imprisoned are released, an occurrence happening more often each year. Since 1973, 98 people have been released due to innocence (www.deathpenaltyinfo.org).
Also, some people who oppose capital punishment believe that executions are unequally applied to Caucasians and African-Americans. This is untrue because 46.14 percent of death row inmates are Caucasians (wwwl.ncpa.org/ea/eama87a.html).
Public opinion of the death penalty generally supports it. When Americans were asked if they favored the death penalty for murder convicts, 68 percent said yes (Gallup Poll, www.pollingreport.com). An ABC News Poll asked if the “death penalty is fair because killers can not kill again”, 72 percent agreed. Even when given life with no parole as an alternative, the majority of those polled by ABC News/Washington Post in April 2001, answered that they prefer the death penalty. Moreover, in 1976, the United States Supreme Court declared the death penalty constitutional (www.thepubliccause.net/deathpenalty.html#supremecourtdeathpenaltydecisions).
Another reason to utilize the death penalty is to prevent criminals from escaping prison. To incapacitate these nefarious inmates prevents them from causing further harm to society. In March 2001, Lee John Knoch and Aaron O’Hara, both 23 years old, escaped the Snake River Correctional Institution in Oregon. O’Hara, who was captured by authorities, is serving a six-year sentence for sodomy, sex abuse, and two counts of rape. Knoch was not caught and had been serving life with no parole for his 1998 conviction of five counts of aggravated murder and charges of assault, kidnapping, theft by extortion, and harassment (www.prodeathpenalty.com). Knoch’s escape could have been prevented had he been sentenced with the death penalty and placed on death row.
The death penalty could have prevented additional crimes as well. In the August 30, 1990 issue of The New American Magazine, “Murders That Could Have Been Averted By Capital Punishment”:
“On December 7, 1984 Benny Lee Chaffin kidnapped, raped, and murdered a nine-year-old Springfield, Oregon girl. He had been convicted of murder once before in Texas, but not executed. Incredibly, the same jury that convicted him for killing the young girl refused to sentence him to death because two of the 12 jurors said they could not determine whether or not he would be a future threat to society!”

“In 1957, Richard Biegenwald murdered a store owner during a robbery in New Jersey. He was convicted, but not given a life sentence rather than death. After serving 17 years, he was paroled. He violated his parole, was returned to prison, but was again paroled in 1980, after which he shot and killed an 18 year old Asbury Park, New Jersey girl. He also killed three other 17 year old New Jersey girls and a 34 year old man.”
To allow these