The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Death Penalty should be Abolished in all States

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 935 times Debate No: 66917
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I believe the death penalty should be abolished. I think that killing someone is never the solution, no matter what crime they've committed. People might say that a murder should receive the death penalty because the punishment is equal to the crime, but "an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind". There are alternative punishments that I believe still serve justice but promote a more forgiving and merciful attitude in society.


I have accepted the debate and will be taking the con side of the argument, that the death penalty should not be abolished in any state. I will be listing my reasons why capital punishment should stay in our society and justice system with, of course, sources that I will list at the end of the post. I wish my opponent the best of luck and I am very happy to be able to debate this with him/her.

If states were to abolish the death penalty, the highest punishment then given would be life without parole. If the death penalty is a consequence for an individual that is deemed not fit for society, then why would that individual be fit for a prison? Are we lessening the lives of people inside of prison and allowing a convict, someone who was supposed to be killed for their heinous and flagrant crimes, be able to live among other people inside of a prison where they could do it again in a controlled environment?

The death penalty, for the most part, is used when there is a felony crime with aggravating factors. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to: a murder involving depraved and violent torture, a lack of remorse when the murder was committed and after, and recidivism (relapsing back into crime). The individual must have had a very large number of aggravating factors to receive the death penalty and putting these people back into society, through prison, isn't such a good idea. There's nothing stopping them from doing it again to the other people inside the prison (who may not be in for crimes that caused harm) and I believe you're putting too much trust into the prison systems for controlling said individuals who require capital punishment.

Also, if we do not impose that the death penalty is a wise form of punishment for people who have committed terrible and heinous crimes, then we may see an increase of crime committed due to criminals seeing the punishment as mild. "A great deal of crime is committed on a cost-benefit schema, wherein the criminal engages in some form of risk assessment as to his or her chances of getting caught and punished in some manner. If he or she estimates the punishment mild, the crime becomes inversely attractive, and vice versa. The fact that those who are condemned to death do everything in their power to get their sentences postponed or reduced to long-term prison sentences, in the way lifers do not, shows that they fear death more than life in prison... (Bedau 1)"

We can also show that, financially, the death penalty may be a more economically desirable route than life without parole. "It is not cheaper to keep a criminal confined, because most of the time he will appeal just as much causing as many costs as a convict under death sentence. Being alive and having nothing better to do, he will spend his time in prison conceiving of ever-new habeas corpus petitions, which being unlimited, in effect cannot be rejected as res judicata. The cost is higher. (Sutherland 1)". Imagine if we were able to find more ethical and fiscally responsible ways to preform capital punishment, the cost of the death penalty could be lowered substantially, which would mean that even if the price of the death penalty were proven to be a larger amount of money up-front, we could always turn to better alternatives of execution to lower that cost.

The death penalty also deters crime. "...Our recent research shows that each execution carried out is correlated with about 74 fewer murders the following year... The study examined the relationship between the number of executions and the number of murders in the U.S. for the 26-year period from 1979 to 2004, using data from publicly available FBI sources... There seems to be an obvious negative correlation in that when executions increase, murders decrease, and when executions decrease, murders increase... (Summers 1)." This goes off of my previous statement, showing that the death penalty is almost a necessity to lower the crime rate and continue to deter criminals considering crime with aggravating factors.

You mention a "forgiving and merciful attitude," but if these criminals are showing that they are acting without remorse and aggravating factors when committing crime then why would we trust them not to do it again? Also, if we're putting all of our trust into these criminals, should we also be putting a substantial amount of money into their life without parole prison time where they can simply kill again in a more controlled environment? If we give these people the benefit of the doubt, they will go out and become repeat offenders. If the punishment fits their crime justly, then they should receive that punishment - and, in some cases, the punishment may just need to be capital punishment.

Bedau, Huge Adam. Debating the Death Penalty. Oxford University Press, 2004. Print.
Sutherland, Edwin H. Criminology. Oxford University Press, 1974. Print.
Summers, Michael. "Capital Punishment Words". Wall Street Journal. 2007. Print.
Debate Round No. 1


I think that what you are saying is that because we don't have a good way to deal with people who cannot be trusted to be a part of society, so the only thing we can do is kill them. Even though people who might be sentenced to death have done terrible things, their lives are still worth something. If extra money is needed to provide an environment where they can live in acceptable conditions and not be a danger to others (solitary cells, special facilities for high-risk criminals, etc.) then it should be raised and spent. Whether or not the death penalty is less or more expensive than life without parole is irrelevant because it would be unethical to decide whether someone lives or dies based on which option is cheaper. If there was an alternative sentence for criminals bound for death row that allowed them to exist in an environment where they posed no threat to others, would you agree that the death penalty should be abolished? In other words, do you think that the death penalty should be legal because it is the only practical option for some criminals or because some criminals deserve to be killed for what they've done?


You've brought up that people who are sentenced to death have done terrible things, but that their lives are still worth something. The people that are sentenced to death row have proven, to themselves and to others, that that have no quarrels with hurting another individual and, if you remember the aggravating factors that go into deciding the death penalty, then we can rightly assume that this pain their inflicting upon others is atrocious and monstrous. Is their life really worth something after they've devalued themselves by hurting someone else substantially?

We're talking about someone who has no pity for humanity. Someone that is able to take human life and play god with humans without second guessing themselves. We're talking about someone who is so psychologically-damaged that they're able to inflict pain and suffering upon others without remorse. I believe that if someone is able to do that to other people, then they are not fit for our society and should be put to death. They are not contributing anything positive to our community and will have proven that their behavior cannot change. Why should we, as taxpayers, put forth money to people that will be nothing but living up to an expensive punishment for no conclusion other than them "being in time-out" for a crime they committed.

Pardon me for replying to your question with another question, but I'm very curious to know: how do you think these people will contribute and pay their dues to a society when they've proven that they're out for nothing but hurting innocent people?

Consider the death row inmate Mark Goudeau; he was charged nine counts of first degree murder, fifteen sexual assaults on women and young girls, eleven counts of kidnapping, and a slew of armed robberies. If you research this person, you'll see that the descriptions of his crimes are absolutely horrifying and disgusting. He was actively killing in Arizona for an entire year, obviously continuing his actions without remorse or anguish and, if he wasn't caught, he would most likely be hurting others to this day.

To give you another question. Mark Goudeu, a serial killer and rapist, who hurt the lives of so many people throughout his one year of actively committing crime, is his life is worthy of something positive to our society? You tell me that people don't deserve the death penalty and that everyone's life is worth something, but can you honestly tell me that Mr. Goudeu didn't deserve his punishment? For killing those women, breaking up families, for psychologically damaging good members of our society - his life is worth more than him getting lethal injection?

If we were to take an alternative point, your "solitary cells and special facilities", what's to say that these people couldn't escape? Although the statistics revolving around prison escapes are very low (nearly 1%), we're still giving this person the chance to escape and continue his crimes - even migrating him to another area to do it in. Institutions like that make mistakes, mistakes so grave that it could give Mark Goudeu a chance to escape and hurt others. Capital punishment doesn't make mistakes, their life is taken and they are no longer able to become a detriment to our society, whether it be economically (paying our money to keep them hospitalized in an institution) or giving these criminals the chance to kill others, either in prison or outside of the walls.

Debate Round No. 2


I still think that everyone's life is worth something, no matter how sadistic or evil they act or appear to be. I agree that Mark Goudeau has committed unspeakable crimes and done atrocious things to innocent people, and he may be beyond help and impossible to reform. To answer your first question, I think that some people allowed to have a life sentence without parole may never be able to contribute to society, or "pay their dues". However, like Mark Goudeau, these people's lives still have worth. Human life always has worth because it is human- unlike other forms of life (animals, plants, bacteria, etc.) humans can reason and think. They can feel emotions. Human worth is not based on whether a person can contribute to society- an old woman in a nursing home who cannot shower or dress or eat by herself still has worth, even though she is arguably just a drain on society. Human worth is not based on your actions- criminals, no matter how atrocious their crimes, still have worth. All these people- criminals, the elderly, and even Mark Goudeau have worth because they are human. Someone who has shown they have no pity for other humans and acts like they have no feelings or empathy for other humans (someone who acts inhuman) is still human despite that, and so must have value. There is nothing an individual can do to invalidate their humanity. I do believe that justice must be served and people need to be punished, and I realize that keeping people who would have otherwise received capital punishment alive makes it possible for them to possibly escape again and is a drain on taxpayer dollars, but I think that the value of human life trumps both of these things. Even the life of a person who does not believe In the value of other human lives has worth.


There's a very large difference between the old lady in the nursing home and a convicted criminal put on death row. The former of the statement is not a drain on society, she is still being paid to live in those conditions and we're not spending money without getting anything back from the family keeping her there. There is a positive that we're gaining, as a society, from keeping that person inside of the hospital; we're collecting money from the family that is keeping her hospitalized and we're also continuing the well-being of the family by keeping her healthy. With someone like Mark Goudeau, no such positives are given, as we're simply paying for his institutionalization knowing well that he will never be a contributing member to society and never amount to anything other than a killer in a jail cell.

I feel like we're retracting from the point, so allow me to pull us back on track. If you put people like Mark Goudeau, an incredibly dangerous individual, into an institution as an alternative to capital punishment, there are a few concerns that I have posted before, but will reiterate now. One, is that there is absolutely nothing saying that he will not be a detriment inside of that facility, more specifically, there's nothing saying that he won't hurt or even kill someone inside of that institution. Two, is that, among the amount of prisons and prisoners in the United States, 1% of those prisons escape. A very small number, but are we really going to allow the chance for Mark Goudeau to escape and hurt other innocent people because we failed to give him the death penalty?

We should also consider the families and possible witnesses that put him in this position, as well. There's a sort of closure to having someone like Mark Goudeau be put to death for his disgusting crimes. A closure that allows the people who testified against him, the people who witnessed his crimes, or the people that got away from him live in peace without worrying about this serial killer and rapist coming back for seconds. If I witnessed a crime of Mark Goudeau, testified against him, and seen that he was put into life-without-parole, I would be scared out of my mind because I know people make mistakes. Mistakes so big that they could let Mr. Goudeau escape and, if he had escaped, then I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing that he could be after me.

The death penalty has more positive facets than it does negative and I think that any alternative to capital punishment would result in a higher crime rate (as per my previous argument), higher risk to witnesses and living victims, higher financial responsibility for little-to-no positives coming from the alternative we have in place. Capital punishment is given to those who deserve it and who would not change their behavior because of such consequence, to those people, we should not allow them to be apart of our society as they only act as a detriment.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by jacktstrick 1 year ago
@Solomon_Orlando, This is so convincing, you deserve the win.
Posted by Solomon_Orlando 1 year ago
@Ngipe33, I'm glad you've had such a positive experience and I'm glad I was able to deliver an entertaining debate! This has been the only amazing debate I've had in a good while, so I must thank you for making the topic and allowing me to accept and debate with you. I'm going to send you a friend request, if that's all right. :)
Posted by Ngipe33 1 year ago
@Solomon_Orlando, thank you so much for responding to my debate! This is my first debate on this website and you have made it such a positive experience and a really appreciate that. I hope you don't feel like your time was wasted- you obviously are much more knowledgable about this topic than I am and you are obviously much better at debating! I know it may not look like it, but I really did put a lot of effort into my responses. I have learned so much about this topic and about debate in general from this, so thank you for that. You have definitely challenged me to think more about my beliefs and to consider the opposing viewpoint, and I think that's really the whole point of debate. I really enjoyed debating with you, and thanks again!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Leo.Messi 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Abolished in all states? No-Some people deserve to die...