The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
9 Points

Death Penalty is good

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/2/2014 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 722 times Debate No: 45109
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




I will argue that the death penalty is good


The death penalty is bad, because it is inefficient, morally wrong, and overall not beneficial to society.

The chemicals used in the Death Penalty are not expensive, but the various processes and procedures leading up to the day of execution can amount to quite a bit of money. 1.25 million dollars more per Death Penalty case than in a life without parole case[1].

We know the trials are more expensive, but some people may argue that the Death Penalty saves you money over time, because you get that 1.25 million back when you don't have to house and provide for prisoners, since they're dead now.

This assertion would be incorrect, and I've got some statistics to back it up. I will use the state of California as an example. Currently, conservative estimates place their Death Penalty enabled legal system's expenditures at 137 million dollars[1]. If they were to do away with the Death Penalty, their system would be expending roughly 11.5 million dollars a year instead[1]. Over the course of 5 years they'd save a billion dollars[1]. So we can see that the deficit grows over time, instead of shrinking.

Many supporters of the Death Penalty claim it deters crime, because it strikes fear into potential criminals. While this is logical at first glance, criminologists are unconvinced, 88% of them in fact[2]. They claim there is no evidence that deterrence exists with the death penalty. Now I'd like to share three quotes, the first from an organization, and the last three from criminologists.

American Civil Liberties Union
"The death penalty has no deterrent effect. Claims that each execution deters a certain number of murders have been thoroughly discredited by social science research. People commit murders largely in the heat of passion, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or because they are mentally ill, giving little or no thought to the possible consequences of their acts. The few murderers who plan their crimes beforehand -- for example, professional executioners -- intend and expect to avoid punishment altogether by not getting caught. Some self-destructive individuals may even hope they will be caught and executed."[2]

John Lamperti, PhD

"...[I]f there were a substantial net deterrent effect from capital punishment under modern U.S. conditions, the studies we have surveyed should clearly reveal it. They do not...

If executions protected innocent lives through deterrence, that would weigh in the balance against capital punishment's heavy social costs. But despite years of trying, this benefit has not been proven to exist; the only certain effects of capital punishment are its liabilities."[2]

Tomislav Kovandzic, PhD
"Our results provide no empirical support for the argument that the existence or application of the death penalty deters prospective offenders from committing homicide... Although policymakers and the public can continue to base support for use of the death penalty on retribution, religion, or other justifications, defending its use based solely on its deterrent effect is contrary to the evidence presented here. At a minimum, policymakers should refrain from justifying its use by claiming that it is a deterrent to homicide and should consider less costly, more effective ways of addressing crime."[2]

Jeffery A. Fagan, PhD
"Recent studies claiming that executions reduce crime... fall apart under close scrutiny. These new studies are fraught with numerous technical and conceptual errors: inappropriate methods of statistical analysis, failures to consider all the relevant factors that drive crime rates, missing data on key variables in key states, the tyranny of a few outlier states and years, weak to non-existent tests of concurrent effects of incarceration, statistical confounding of murder rates with death sentences, failure to consider the general performance of the criminal justice system... and the absence of any direct test of deterrence.

These studies fail to reach the demanding standards of social science to make such strong claims... Social scientists have failed to replicate several of these studies, and in some cases have produced contradictory results with the same data, suggesting that the original findings are unstable, unreliable and perhaps inaccurate. This evidence, together with some simple examples and contrasts... suggest that there is little evidence that the death penalty deters crime."[2]

Getting the Wrong Guy
As we are human, and most of us imperfect, the Death Penalty will always hold the possibility of a permanent error. The courts are hardly going to go back and admit they killed an innocent man, but there are several cases where there is extreme doubt as to the now dead party's guilt. The following link[3] contains the names and case descriptions of ten men who are likely to have been wrongfully executed. Note that not all new evidence is thanks to advancements in DNA testing. Also note that the most recent case concluded in 2011.

Additionally, the courts have admitted and caught 130 mistakes since 1973[4]. Some people might be saying, "Oh ok that's cool, I guess that's problem solved." Hardly. This statistic simply serves to show the rate at which our system can produce innocents on death row, enough to be able to catch 130 of them. This would imply a better chance for there to be innocents on death row who have not been exonerated.

Lastly, there are people on death row who committed a murder or whatever, but aren't responsible for their actions: the mentally ill. The National Association of Mental Health estimates that between 5-10% of death inmates are mentally ill[5]. These people, who did victimize people, are victims of their mental illnesses. They deserve and need attempts at rehabilitation, not death.

The following may not convince some readers, and it doesn't need to for them to agree with my position, but I shall share it to add to my argument.

Most proponents of the Death Penalty claim that it is fair and equal, because it repays a murderer with death. I agree that it brings things back to equal, but it also brings us, the people who condone the execution, morally equal to the killer. Think about it. The murderer killed because he wanted that person dead. We kill the murderer because we want him dead. Let's take the moral high ground instead.

Solace to Families?
Others will claim that the Death Penalty may bring victims' families solace and closure. I could argue about this with my opponent, but for the sake of the argument let's say it does, in every scenario.

So? Look at the big picture. We have the possibility of money being used which could've been applied to things like the school system, roads, or mental health institutions, the possibility of killing innocents or the mentally ill, versus making one family feel better. If you're trying to shape government policy that cares for your state in the most beneficial way, the idea that families are brought solace and closure shouldn't sway you onto the Pro side.

Thanks for reading!

Debate Round No. 1
Debate Round No. 2


look your skills surpass mine


Just to clarify my 'cool' was sarcastic. I genuinely think it's cool that you just balls'd up like that.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
*wasn't(final round)
Posted by spiderman12345 2 years ago
I am going to lose anyway
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
I won't be able to post arguments tonight, I just wanted to snatch this thing up before someone else did.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded. Conduct to Pro as he conceded respectfully without forfeiting.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession, so points have to go to Con. Pro did concede so I decided not to deduct conduct points.