The Instigator
socialpinko
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
petersaysstuff
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points

Death Penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/14/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,061 times Debate No: 15356
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

socialpinko

Con

It is Pro's responsibility to show why it is right to use the death penalty and it is Con's responsibility to show why the death penalty is wrong. Both of us will share the BOP for this debate.

Round 1 will be for acceptance, rules, and definitions.
Rounds 2 and 3 will be for arguments and rebuttals.

Rule 1: No forfeiting rounds.
Rule 2: Please no personal attacks or rude comments.
Rule 3: Post all sources and citations in the comment section.
Rule 4: No posting new arguments or sources in the last round.

Failure to adhere to these rules will result in losing all seven votes.

The death penalty: A sentence of punishment by execution.[1]

Good luck to whoever accepts this debate.
petersaysstuff

Pro

First off I would like to thank my opponent for this chance.

Please extend Con's rules to this argument.
I also accept his definition of "the death penalty". I await my opponents argument.
Debate Round No. 1
socialpinko

Con

I can understand a victim's family's frustration at the thought of a killer getting away with what he has done. This seems to be what so many think happens when a killer avoids the death penalty. I will argue that not only is the death penalty not effective in preventing crime or bringing a victim back but is nothing but a costly state funded revenge killing.

(1)Detterance

Some will argue that the death penalty helps keep murder rates down by scaring would be criminals, at the thought of being put to death, into not commiting hard crimes. The theory goes that if one is about to murder someone he/she might be persuaded not do so out of fear that he will be put to death. This is definitely not the case.

From 2003-2008 there were thirty countries in the world who had murder rates of 1.5 or less murders in every 100,000 people. Of these thirty, twenty had completely abolished the death penalty while ten still have the death penalty partially or fully in place.[1] Surely if the death penalty really had a deterring effect, there would be more countries in the top thirty with the death penalty than without. Iceland, a country that has abolished the death penalty, has the overall lowest murder rate in the world.[1]

(2)Costs

In California, taxpayers pay an estimated $90,000 more per death row prisoner each year than on prisoners in regular confinement. Just in California, if the death penalty were changed to life without parole, California taxpayers could save 125.5 million dollars annually.[2][3] This is because, when the death penalty is being seeked, after being convicted of the crime, the suspect must go through a very long process of appeals and sentencing to make sure he/she is not convicted of a crime he/she did not commit. This coupled with the arbitrariness of a punishment which neither rehabilitates criminals nor prevents crime makes the death penalty not worth it .

(3)Arbitrariness

Again, the death penalty does not really punish someone in that they are out and dead in 1, 2, 3. That is it, no more punishment after that. They basically get away with it like Hitler. Second, this does nothing to benefit society in the longrun. You could say that it takes out dangerous criminals. But can't we do that anyways by putting them in prison for life for a fraction of the cost? And doesn't it seem like a far worse punishment to sit and rot in a prison until you die in ripe old age then to go out in a second and be free from all responsibility?

(4)Wrong guy

There is also the possibility that one could be killed while being innocent. If we find out that a man was wrongly convicted of murder even ten years after the case, at least that man can one day walk out of prison. If that man was put to death on the other hand, all you can do is apologize to the suspect's family and apologize for killing an innocent and slandering his name. There are no backsies when it comes to the death penalty.

My main reasoning stands that:
A-The death penalty, contrary to what many say, has not been shown to deter criminals from commiting crimes.
B-The cost of the death penalty is much higher than to put a person in prison for life. This is a complete waste of hundreds of millions of dollars of tax payer money. This money could be better used for rehabilitation or to help stop crimes before they happen.
C-It is a much more effective punishment to make someone rot in a tiny cell for fifty years then to shut off their lights in a few seconds.
D-There is no fixing a mistake like killing the wrong guy.

I await my opponents responses, arguments.
petersaysstuff

Pro

First off I would like to start with a critique of the resolution. The resolution that my opponent put forth is thusly: "It is Pro's responsibility to show why it is right to use the death penalty and it is Con's responsibility to show why the death penalty is wrong." yet with the phrases right and wrong certain assumptions are made. The first assumption that is made is that there is some form of objectivity. With this assumption we are saying that X is always wrong or X is always right when this is simply not the case. (Sure some things are objective like numbers and so on but in the case of an action always being condemned or condoned there is never objectivity). And I would like to add an impact to this, when assumptions are made, esspecially if they prove to be incorrect, it lowers legitimacy. Of course the loss of mine or my opponent's legitimacy will most likely not hurt anything in the long run but what if a political leader makes an assumption like this? What if political legitimacy is lowered? When political legitimacy is lowered revolutions ensue[1]. But let's ignore that and move to the on case arguments.

//Refutations\First off my opponent argues that there is no deterrence but this is blatantly not true. Studies where done in all 50 states showed that the death penalty does in fact act as a deterrent but not only that, it saves lives![2] Also, "Professors Hashem Dezhbakhsh, Paul R. Rubin, and Joanna M. Shepherd of Emory University found that each execution, on average, results in 18 fewer murders."[2] This evidence right here stands in direct contradiction to my opponents evidence which is only referencing countries with already low or lowering murder rates. My opponent also makes a major fallacy here by assuming that because Iceland has the lowest murder rate in the world and that it doesn't use the death penalty, a correlation exists is just not true and misleading.

My opponent then makes the argument that the cost of using capital punishment on an inmate is enormous compared the the "low" cost of incarceration. First off the assumption that it costs more to kill a prisoner than to have him be in prison for life is just not true. Justice for All says that Life Without Parole costs at least $1.2 million to $3.6 million more than capital punishment cases.[3]
"And life without parole prisoners face, on average, 30 or 40 years in prison while the annual cost of incarceration is $40,000 to $50,000 a year for each prisoner or more! There is no question that the up front costs of the death penalty are significantly higher than for equivalent LWOP cases. There also appears to be no question that, over time, equivalent LWOP cases are much more expensive - from $1.2 to $3.6 million - than death penalty cases."[3]
So as we can see, with this evidence being presented, my opponents argument that the death penalty costs more is false.

Next my opponent argues that with the death penalty the killers get off free but that is not the case. Their life is ended. They have no chance to do anything else. That is the worst punishment imaginable! " But can't we do that anyways by putting them in prison for life for a fraction of the cost?" No we cannot. Please cross apply my previous evidence regarding the costs which shows that it is actually cheaper to kill prisoners than to keep them in prison AND if you cross apply my evidence that states that capital punishment actually saves lives and thus it's easy to see that this argument does not work on a monetary level and the level of preservation of life.

My opponent makes the classic killing the innocent argument but what if they are put in jail for life and and they are either killed in jail or die in jail? That is irreversible as well. But regardless what my opponent wants is a perfect society in which there are no risks but there will always be risks yet we must face them in order to better society and save lives.

//Arguments\A: First off I would like to say that since we live in a Democracy majority rules and thus if the majority is in favor of a system is should be kept because if we ignore the voice of the majority we are undermining our own system. But let me get to the important part of this, Americans overwhelmingly support capital punishment[4] and if we are to ignore their wishes we undermine the very system which we fight so hard to protect.
B: Maintaining the death penalty promotes a better prison environment for the workers inside. If the death penalty were abolished, violent criminals could murder their guards with no fear of death seeing as Con's plan makes it illegal. If we have a bad work environment we will not draw well educated and compassionate guards.[5]
C: I would also like to add deterrence to my case real quick, the Bureau of Criminal Justice compared the number of executions to the number of murders committed and guess what? When more executions were committed, the lower the murder rate was and conversely, the less executions were committed, the higher the murder rate was so this empirically shows that the death penalty DOES have a deterrence effect.[6]
D: Not all life sentences are without parole and thus murderers can still get out and commit their crimes again. Here is a list of different criminals who committed violent crimes, were put in jail, got parole and committed the crimes again: http://www.wesleylowe.com...

So as we can see, the death penalty does have a deterrence effect, it saves lives, it ultimately costs less, it provides a safer prison environment and it stops repeat offenders.
I await Con's responeses.
Debate Round No. 2
socialpinko

Con

socialpinko forfeited this round.
petersaysstuff

Pro

I am very sorry to see that my opponent has forfeited this last round especially because his first rule was "No forfeiting rounds." I am also sad to see this because I was looking forward to having a nice debate with him but it seems that will not happen. But putting both those aside let me say that we must extend all of my offense seeing as it hasn't been negated whilst leaving my opponent's offense behind because I have negated all of his claims whilst he has not defended his and thus I see no reason to vote Con. So without further ado, I urge a Pro ballot.

~~Peter
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by socialpinko 3 years ago
socialpinko
Round 1-
ROUND 1
[1]http://www.unodc.org...
[2]http://www.deathpenalty.org...
[3]http://www.amnestyusa.org...

Source 1 was a compilation of statistics formulated by various agencies such as the World Health Organization and Interpol.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by banker 3 years ago
banker
socialpinkopetersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: analzing both responses
Vote Placed by BangBang-Coconut 3 years ago
BangBang-Coconut
socialpinkopetersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited. Even if I wanted to vote Con (which I did) I couldn't
Vote Placed by BillBonJovi 3 years ago
BillBonJovi
socialpinkopetersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Full points to Pro because Pro gave better arguments and sources, and Con forfeited in the end.