The Instigator
MyDinosaurHands
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
ProfessorJake
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Death Penalty

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
MyDinosaurHands
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/1/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 450 times Debate No: 45050
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (4)

 

MyDinosaurHands

Con

I will show try to show why the Death Penalty should not be allowed in the United States.

My opponent will try to show why the Death Penalty should be allowed in the United States.

First Round will be for Acceptance.
ProfessorJake

Pro

I accept, and look forward to your arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
MyDinosaurHands

Con

I will be providing six reasons as to why the Death Penalty should not be utilized.

Price
The drugs themselves that are used to kill the criminal are cheap, but the necessary processes and procedures leading up to the day of execution are extremely expensive. Death Penalty cases cost an average of 1.25 million dollars more than the average life without parole or other cases[1].

Some people may argue that while the cases themselves cost more, money is actually saved in the long-run, due to the fact that life without parole prisoners take up money being provided for by the prison system. This line of thought is incorrect. If we take the state of California for an example, we see that if they got rid of the Death Penalty, their prison system's expenditures would go from its current 137 million dollars to 11.5 million dollars, and in five years California could save a billion dollars[1]. These statistics show that the system doesn't start getting its money back over time, instead it just loses more and more of it.

Deterrence
Proponents of the Death Penalty often support their position with the idea that the Death Penalty deters crime. Often these claims go un-sourced, because there is little data to support this. Even when a study comes back saying that the Death Penalty deters crime, 88% of criminologists are un-swayed, holding the belief that the Death Penalty isn't a deterrent[2]. Here are some quotes, explaining their reasons for not believing in the Death Penalty's deterring capabilities, and some reasons on why the studies that support the deterrence theory are invalid in their findings and practices:

Tomislav Kovandsic 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]

Lethal Injection
The lethal injection process does not provide the calm death that many of us are lead to believe. Lethal injection can cause excruciating pain[3][4]. This fact may not sway everyone, certainly, but for those of you who thought we were just killing these people, instead of subjecting them to torture before death, should consider this.

Getting the Wrong Guy
Since humans aren't perfect, we will never be able to eliminate the possibility of making a mistake, and sending an innocent man to his death. While courts will not go back and admit they messed up, new evidence has come to light on several cases, one which concluded as recently as 2011, that innocent men were executed[5]. Proponents of the Death Penalty may claim that this won't happen anymore thanks to advances in DNA testing. To that I would respond that if you follow this link, not all of the new evidence found is related to DNA. Some of it is just new evidence from an unconsidered angle.

And our courts have corrected 140 of their mistakes since 1973[6]. For those 140, that's all swell, but what about the people they missed? What about the mistakes they didn't catch?

Retribution's Logic
Many proponents of the Death Penalty believe killing a man who has murdered is the right thing to do, because of the 'eye for an eye' mentality. They say that it makes things equal. I agree with that, but what should be noted that we are also equally bad for doing this. If we stoop down to the level of a murderer to kill him, how are we any better than him? Because we say we are?

A man murders because he thinks the victim should be dead. We kill the murderer because we think he should be dead. Both the system and the murderer are allowing their subjective viewpoints to determine their actions. When the Death Penalty is used, we do not have a moral high ground over a murderer, since we are behaving in the same way he has.

Retribution vs Price
Proponents of the Death Penalty often claim that it should be kept in place in order to provide retribution, and therein provide comfort and solace to the families of the victims. I could argue back and forth with my opponent about whether or not the Death Penalty provides solace to victims' families, but that is not necessary. The reality probably is that the results of the Death Penalty in that regard are varied.

For the sake of this argument, let's pretend that revenge makes all families feel better. Look at the big picture. Refer back to my Price and Getting the Wrong Guy sections. Even if it makes families sad because they go without retribution, billions of dollars go back to the state if there is no Death Penalty. It is a logical sacrifice to make. A couple sad families in exchange for funneling millions or billions of dollars back into state education, road, or mental health services.

Then, look at the fact that we can be executing innocent men. What is worse, risking the death of an innocent man, or leaving a couple families without retribution?

Sources:
[1] http://www.deathpenalty.org...
[2] http://deathpenalty.procon.org...
[3] http://www.amnestyusa.org...
[4] http://www.motherjones.com...
[5] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[6] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
ProfessorJake

Pro

ProfessorJake forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
ProfessorJake

Pro

ProfessorJake forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
MyDinosaurHands

Con

I would ask that if my opponent gets back on, that he not post arguments in the final round, as I will be unable to respond, which would be unfair.
ProfessorJake

Pro

ProfessorJake forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by TheAntidoter 2 years ago
TheAntidoter
MyDinosaurHandsProfessorJakeTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: FF all the arguments!
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
MyDinosaurHandsProfessorJakeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: F.F. All applicable points to con.
Vote Placed by codemeister13 2 years ago
codemeister13
MyDinosaurHandsProfessorJakeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: FF puts all points to Con.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
MyDinosaurHandsProfessorJakeTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: F.