The Instigator
fedicdougas
Pro (for)
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The Contender
glassplotful
Con (against)
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Death Penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/13/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,267 times Debate No: 32457
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

fedicdougas

Pro

The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much.
It creates another form of crime deterrent.
Justice is better served.
Our justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims.
It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence.
DNA testing and other methods of modern crime scene science can now effectively eliminate almost all uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence.
Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill.
It contributes to the problem of overpopulation in the prison system.
It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system.
glassplotful

Con

I accept the challenge and thank my opponent for the debate. In this post, I will refute my opponent's arguments made in round 1.

My argument
: "The death penalty is not only an ineffective method of deterring crime, but an immoral practice based upon primitive retribution philosophy."


The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much.

Feelings of closure are not more important than a human life. If our justice system were to fully take into account the feelings of certain persons towards the perpetrator of the crime, cases would be based not on fact and evidence, but on emotion. Emotion clouds reason. Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a reason- she symbolizes the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, avarice, emotion, prejudice, or favor.


It creates another form of crime deterrent.

Actually, most research links the existence of capital punishment to an increased crime rate. In “Deterrance and the Death Penalty: A New Look at Some Recent Findings” Siennick finds that according to research, “felony homicide actually increase slightly after an execution. Yet the felony homicides are the homicides that are eligible for the death penalty (1).” It is found in general that states with no death penalty statute have the lowest murder rates. In 2011, the average murder rate of death penalty states was 4.7, while the average murder rate of states without the death penalty was 3.1 (2).


Justice is better served.

In what way is justice better served? One would first have to define justice. I don’t know what you mean by this, and I apologize that I cannot respond properly to this argument.


Our justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims.

Actually, the United States contains arguably one of the least sympathetic justice systems in the world. The United States is part of only 20% of countries in the world to have life-without-parole sentences (LWOP). The number of prisoners serving LWOP sentences is more than 41,000 in the United States in contrast to the 59 serving such sentences in Australia, 41 in England, and 37 in the Netherlands. In California alone, 3,700 people who have never committed a violent crime are serving 25 years to life in prison. Only 21% of countries around the world, including the United States, allow uncapped consecutive sentences for multiple crimes arising out of the same act. Additionally, the U.S. is only one of 16% of countries in the world that allow for juveniles to be tried as adults.

Life in prison is unforgiving. In 1992, an estimate from the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that between 9-20% of inmates had been sexually assaulted. In 1996, similar studies concluded that the rate was somewhere between 12% and 14%; incredibly, 18% of assaults were carried out by prison staff. This webpage (5) archives letters written by rape victims in prison, with some victims being as young as 16.


It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence.

In what way does the death penalty inhibit crime for individuals who are already serving a life sentence? They are already in prison, how are they meant to commit a crime?


DNA testing and other methods of modern crime scene science can now effectively eliminate almost all uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence.

The keyword here is almost. While I agree with the statement that DNA testing can eliminate almost all uncertainty, it does not eliminate all uncertainty. If just one innocent individual is executed by the government, capital punishment has failed. And innocents have been executed. In 1989, Carlos DeLuna was executed on the charge of murdering a woman named Wanda Lopez. In 2012, new evidence was brought to light that indicated that there was no way DeLuna could have murdered Lopez (6, 7). DeLuna’s case represents one of many. The fact is there is no method of determining without a doubt that an individual committed a crime.


Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill.

This is true. Indeed, escaped prisoners, or those on parole, have the ability to kill, but to a much lesser degree than non-parolees.

First, let’s address prison escapes. Between 2010 and 2011, there were just 171 prison escapes. While this may sound like a significant number, 105 of these inmates were recaptured within 24 hours of escape (9). In 2009, 2,330,000 persons were incarcerated in the United States. Since then, the number has grown (10). This makes prison escapes a negligible statistic with only .00734% of prisoners breaking free from prison in 2011.

Morton and Germany, PLLC note that “parolees are, almost without exception, prohibited from owning firearms. In all cases, a parolee will be required to meet with a parole officer. Usually, these meetings will be on a pre-determined schedule (8).” If the terms of the parole are broken, the parolee may be sent back to prison or face trial for an entirely new crime. In 2008, Department of Correction facilities held 1,890 inmates with a violation of probation. Of these inmates, a mere 0.5% were jailed for homicides (approximately 10 inmates) (11).


It contributes to the problem of overpopulation in the prison system.

The death penalty contributes to the problem? You may have meant to say it contributes to the solution. I'll assume this is what you meant- if it isn't, please correct me. This is true, but the effect the death penalty has on combating overpopulation is negligible. Only 4,863 persons have been executed since 1930 in the United States (11), yet in 2011 there were 2,330,000 persons incarcerated (10), not including all persons who have been jailed since 1930.


It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system.

This is also true. The death penalty does give prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargaining process. But- is allocating more power to the prosecution moral? When the prosecution holds a human life in their hands, a human life which they may seek to end, should we allow them more resources to carry out this deed? Providing more power to anyone with the intent to end a human life is an abhorrent practice.

Sources

[1] Siennick, Sonja E. "Deterrence and the Death Penalty." Criminology & Public Policy 11.3 (2012): 535-537. Web. 13 Apr. 2013.

[2] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

[3] de la Vega, Connie, Solter, Amanda, Kwon, Soo-Ryun, Isaac, Dana M. "Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing Practices in a Global Context." University of San Fransico, School of Law. May 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2013.

[4] http://web.archive.org...

[5] http://www.stormfront.org...

[6] http://www.guardian.co.uk...

[7] http://www3.law.columbia.edu...

[8] http://www.mortongermany.com...

[9] http://www.dc.state.fl.us...

[10] http://www.webcitation.org...

[11] http://www.cga.ct.gov...

[12] http://www.infoplease.com...

Debate Round No. 1
fedicdougas

Pro

fedicdougas forfeited this round.
glassplotful

Con

Since my opponent has not presented any new arguments that I may respond to, I'll simply restate my argument this round and ask my opponent to respond to my rebuttals made in round 1.

"The death penalty is not only an ineffective method of deterring crime, but an immoral practice based upon primitive retribution philosophy."
Debate Round No. 2
fedicdougas

Pro

fedicdougas forfeited this round.
glassplotful

Con

I have nothing else to add. My argument still stands.
Debate Round No. 3
fedicdougas

Pro

fedicdougas forfeited this round.
glassplotful

Con

glassplotful forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by glassplotful 3 years ago
glassplotful
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