Should the death penalty be allowed?
Debate Rounds (3)
Thank you for starting this debate. If you don't mind, I'm just going to use my opening arguments from a previous death penalty debate. (http://www.debate.org...)
Contrary to what you might expect, the death penalty costs much more than its alternative, life imprisonment without possibility of release or parole. A 2015 Seattle University study showed that Washington aggravated first-degree murder cases in which the death penalty was sought cost an average of $1 million more than cases in which it was not.  A California study showed that the death penalty has cost the state $4 billion over the past 20 years.  Across the nation, the death penalty has cost us $1.6 billion in the time period between 1982 and 1997.  In federal trials, death penalty cases cost 8 times more to defend than similar cases in which the death penalty is not sought. 
This is not only a large economic and budgetary strain on communities. It also diverts money from programs that are more effective in terms of crime prevention, such as early childhood education, high school dropout prevention, mental health services, and drug and alcohol treatment services. We are doing our communities a disservice by taking money that could be used to create healthier societies and using it instead to execute people. 
Proponents of the death penalty often talk about the death penalty as a deterrent, saying murder rates would skyrocket if capital punishment were to be abolished. This is not accurate. In fact, murder rates in death penalty states have been consistently higher than those in non-death penalty states.  This is not necessarily to suggest that the death penaltycauses crime, but rather that it has absolutely no effect on crime rates. In addition, 87% of expert criminologists agree that the abolition of the death penalty would not change murder rates in any significant manner. 
3. Psychological Damage
Another factor we must consider when discussing the continuation of capital punishment is the significant harm it inflicts on prison workers. According to Equal Justice USA, "Corrections officials, haunted by the experience of putting people to death, have committed suicide, turned to alcohol, or suffered mental and physical health problems."  One prison warden, Ron McAndrew, would wake up each night to see vivid hallucinations of executed inmates sitting at the foot of his bed, and reports of PTSD in executioners and other workers are widespread. McAndrew speaks out against the death penalty: " I saw staff traumatized by the duties they were asked to perform. Officers who had never even met the condemned fought tears, cowering in corners so as not to be seen. Some of my colleagues turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of knowing that a man had died by their hands."  In other words, for every person we kill, we are ruining many innocent lives along with it. Is that justice?
As with any punishment, there are bound to be circumstances in which, for a variety of reasons, the justice system gets it wrong. The same goes for capital punishment. There have been many cases in which people have been exonerated after spending years of their lives on death row, and some in which innocent people have been convicted.  The death penalty, however, is set apart from other punishments because it cannot be reversed once carried out. If someone is wrongfully imprisoned, you can release them, give them a compensation for their time, and send them on their way. The death penalty, obviously, is irreversible, and as long as there is any possibility of mistakenly killing an innocent person, the death penalty should not be continued.
Finally, there is the simple issue of government hypocrisy. A classic question that reveals this is, "Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?" It's simply not an ethical thing to do in a modern society such as this.
Eagerly awaiting my opponent's responses!
8. [Full Article] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
2. The ineffectiveness of the death penalty is not a deterrent from others committing a crime. It is to prevent that person from recommitting the crime. 61.7% of violent offenders recommit the crime within 3 years of being released from prison according to the Bureau of Statistics. The criminologists say that the murder rates would not go down however they really have no basis for comparison because they are using numbers from people who were already murdered. What are the numbers if the victims where still alive?
3. Psychological Damage is a problem with execution. Not every one has the mental capacity to take a life (this statement is not meant to be insulting). However there is the possibility that guard could be employed from former soldiers who have come to terms with taking a life if needs be. Two, the solution for PTSD was solved when firing squads where 5 strong but only on had 1 round and 4 blanks. The round was random so no one knew who was the executioner giving them peace of mind that they did not do it.
4. During the evolution of society and technology we have become more efficient on how we process a crime scene. The inaccuracy of a crime from the past was a problem however now days with modern forensics. Police have the ability to find a single hair in a bail of hay, know where it came from, how long it has been there, and what part of the body it came from. More and more accuracy is not a problem criminals are being released due to technicalities.
5. I don't think that it is hypocritical to have a cause and effect system. There are just some people that do not need to stay on the planet. A few years a go there was a man who raped a 6 month old baby to death in Ohio, 1 month old raped and murdered in New Mexico, 6 month old in South Dakota. There are just some people who do not need to be on this planet.
"The cost of execution was a study done by a group of individuals who do not want the death penalty so the information they would produce has a high possibility of being skewed."
First of all, I cited five studies, not one. Which one are talking about?
The idea that "the source doesn't agree with me, so it's wrong" is something I've seen a lot. You cite no evidence, which makes me even more dubious of your claim. I also noticed that instead of citing opposing studies, you are content with making unbased accusations towards mine. In further rounds, either offer opposing studies or offer concrete evidence as to why my sources are wrong. Proving bias isn't enough. You must also prove that bias influenced the researchers' results; this will be quite difficult to do.
"...the money for a chemical that goes to big pharmaceutical, a round from a .223 cost .30 cents..."
Well, this sentence was kind of confusingly laid out, but yes, shooting is a cheaper alternative. I should note that the studies I cited earlier weren't the costs of execution versus the costs of life in prison. They also include court costs, pre-conviction incarceration, and other factors. The death penalty is inherently more expensive because of special sentencing procedures, which prolongs the trial and contributes to the large cost discrepancy. In other words, changing the method of execution would not have any significant effect on the cost. (See the graph on the Seattle University study from R1).
"The ineffectiveness of the death penalty is not a deterrent from others committing a crime. It is to prevent that person from recommitting the crime."
This point is based off of the false premise that people who would normally be given the death penalty would be released from prison. The alternative to the death penalty is life in prison without possibility of release or parole, which would prevent recidivism.
"...there is the possibility that guard could be employed from former soldiers who have come to terms with taking a life if needs [sic] be."
With this point you neglect the fact that many soldiers have already suffered through immense hardship and trauma, and they are not immune to it, which seems to be what you are suggesting.  Our soldiers deserve to live out their lives in peace after they have sacrificed so much for this country--we can't just treat them as killing machines and utilize them for the dirty work of the justice system. You later suggest that a firing squad would alleviate psychological trauma. This is false. Even viewing the death penalty can have profound psychological impacts.  Even if you are not sure if you are the one who killed the prisoner, you know that you aimed and fired a gun at a fellow human being with intent to kill. How on earth could this not be traumatic?
"More and more accuracy is not a problem criminals are being released due to technicalities [sic]."
This is also false. A study found that a conservative estimate of the rate of false conviction was 4.1%.  This is a huge percentage, and many innocent lives have been taken because of this policy. Until we can get this rate down, the death penalty must be abolished.
"There are just some people that do not need to stay on the planet."
Sure, I agree with you. But we have to weigh the costs of removing a person from the planet. Is the idea of vengeance really worth a preschooler's education, a drug addict's treatment, a prison warden's peace of mind, or the many innocent lives that have been cut short due to a broken justice system? The death penalty takes so much away from our communities and gives back so little. Thus capital punishment must be ended and the resources diverted to more worthwhile means.
Looking forward to your responses!
If a study done by a christian organization said that gay marriage hurt the upbringing of children. Or if a doctor says it hurts children, would you believe it? If Marlboro had a study done and it said that cigarettes don't cause cancer, would you believe that? What if a doctor wrote that they don't cause cancer? Being skeptical is not the same as straight out not believing. All studies 5 studies you have cited were all bias groups hence the skepticism. And of course I okay with making accusations towards your studies, everyone thought the same and no one questioned anything, this would be a very boring web site.
As for the court costs, I will say it again, it should cost more, we are talking about a human life. However this is tax payer money and every tax payer has the constitutional right to say how and where tax payer dollars are spent.
I prefer my tax money not be spent on housing and feeding certain types criminals. Making sure they have their vaccinations. Making sure they get three meals a day. There are some that show they eat better and more than I did while I was in the military. Paying for their cable. Paying for their exercise equipment. Paying for their medical expenses. New uniforms. The water and soap to clean all their stuff for life. College educations, bachelor degree. All of which are not in any studies to show life in prison is cheaper.
pro- "The ineffectiveness of the death penalty is not a deterrent from others committing a crime. It is to prevent that person from recommitting the crime."
con- "This point is based off of the false premise that people who would normally be given the death penalty would be released from prison. The alternative to the death penalty is life in prison without possibility of release or parole, which would prevent recidivism."
This not a false premise. A person is executed because of a crime, they can never do it again hence they are prevented from ever doing it again. Life in prison, a person can still murder, rape, etc. Not everyone in prison is an animal and does not deserve to be raped or murdered. Yet placing them together increases that chance. And we cant say "well they put themselves in that position by braking the law" cause that is the exact same argument for execution.
For our soldiers, I have not forgotten them, I was a solider. I know the hardships and trauma and while not everyone is immune to it, the key words are "not everyone". There are some that were immune. Our soldiers do deserve to live out their lives in peace however that is a choice that we should let them make. One persons peace is another persons chaos.
As for the psychological trauma the Time wrote a piece where they addressed the firing squad and in it they even spoke of the blank round and no one knows who performed the killing shot and all on the firing squad are volunteers. The reason people can not understand how it could not be traumatic is because they have not been in the situation to know either way.
con- "A study found that a conservative estimate of the rate of false conviction was 4.1%."
If a study says that 4.1% of convictions are false then 95.9% are accurate and that is an A in grading terms. The study "Aggravation and Mitigation in Capital Cases: What Do Jurors Think?" by Stephen P. Garvey acknowledge that those numbers are impossible to prove accurate. And author Virginia Hughes wrote in a blog "How Many People Are Wrongly Convicted? Researchers Do the Math" and using this same study, "It"s impossible to say whether this 4.1 percent false conviction rate applies to defendants who never went to death row. But I"ll leave you with one last depressing thought. Of all of the people found guilty of capital murder, less than half actually get a death-penalty sentence. And when juries are determining whether to send a defendant to death row or to life in prison, surveys show that they tend to choose life sentences when they have 'residual doubt' about the defendant"s guilt. That means, then, that the rate of innocent defendants serving life in prison is higher than those on death row. 'They are sentenced,' the authors write, 'and then forgotten.' "
Capital punishment is not vengeance. A person commits a crime knowing the consequences and thus they receive said consequences. It is a cause and effect not vengeance. A person speeds and gets a ticket, that is cause and effect. A person does not study for a test and they fail it is a cause and effect. A person murders and gets life in prison, cause and effect. Not every death is vengeance.
I apologize. I am very busy with schoolwork and can't post an argument right now. I thank you for this debate and best wishes to you.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.