The Instigator
Pro (for)
9 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

That we should abolish the death penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/3/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,042 times Debate No: 13554
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




Welcome to my debate,

As pro on the topic, 'That we should abolish the death penalty,' I propose the abolition of the death penalty.

The format of this debate will be round one for definitions (in first Con I simply expect my opponent to respond to my definitions) and the others for argument.

We define this topic to be:

1)Should - have a moral obligation to. (1)

1) Death penalty - death as punishment for a crime, also called capital punishment. (2)

Both definitions paraphrased from



I thank my opponent in advance for not using semantics in this debate.

Thanks and good luck!


I must negate the resolution that the death penatly should/ought to be abolished..

I will be giving a value and Value criterion for this debate,

Value is Utilitarianism which is the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Criterion is decreasing risk

Contention 1: Abolishing the death penalty will decrease the amount of safty to society , which does not provide or increase utility. If states would abolish the death penalty the crime rate would increase, how so that murder would not be feared. People will not fear committing a murder the worse punishment would be 25 to life, which isn't so bad they get free room and board ,food,showers, and alot of alone time. Will this really teach them to not murder again? We will never know, by any chance he gets probation and paroll and gets out whats to say he won't commit more murders or violent crimes? There isn't any, by having the death penalty people will not only think twice before committing the crime but make sure they stay off the streets for good. This also makes more space for jails and jail costs like i said they get basics like 3 square meals a day and etc. By abolishing capital punishment you are actually increasing risk to society, and not providing utilitarianism.

Contention 2: States have an obligation to provide security to its people, part of this is reducing risk to society.
By allowing capital punishment you are reducing risk and increasing utility because lest jail costs. As i pretty much stated in contention 1 how it does this, murders will possible commit the same crime again."Does the death penalty deter? It is hard to prove one way or the other because in most retentionist countries the number of people actually executed per year (as compared to those sentenced to death) is usually a very small proportion. It would, however, seem that in those countries (e.g. Singapore) which almost always carry out death sentences, there is far less serious crime. This tends to indicate that the death penalty is a deterrent, but only where execution is a virtual certainty. The death penalty is much more likely to be a deterrent where the crime requires planning and the potential criminal has time to think about the possible consequences. Where the crime is committed in the heat of the moment there is no likelihood that any punishment will act as a deterrent. There is a strong argument here for making murder committed in these circumstances not punishable by death or for having degrees of murder as in the USA."
It can deter planned or 1 degree murder.

Contention 3: that most countries that have abolished the death penalty there crime rate went up..."The rates for unlawful killings in Britain have more than doubled since abolition of capital punishment in 1964 from 0.68 per 100,000 of the population to 1 .42 per 100,000. Home Office figures show around unlawful killings 300 in 1964, which rose to 565 in 1994 and 833 in 2004. The figure for homicides in 2007 was 734. The principal causes of homicide are fights involving fists and feet, stabbing and cutting by glass or a broken bottle, shooting and strangling. 72% of the victims were male with younger men being most at risk. Convictions for the actual crime of murder (as against manslaughter and other unlawful killings) have also been rising inexorably. Between 1900 and 1965 they ran at an average of 29 per year. There were 57 in 1965 – the first year of abolition. Ten years later the total for the year was 107 which rose to 173 by 1985 and 214 in 1995. There have been 71 murders committed by people who have been released after serving "life sentences" in the period between 1965 and 1998 according to Home Office statistics. Some 6,300 people are currently serving sentences of "life in prison" for murder. Figures released in 2009 show that since 1997, 65 prisoners who were released after serving life were convicted of a further crime. These included two murders, one suspected murder, one attempted murder, three rapes and two instances of grievous bodily harm. The same document also noted that 304 people given life sentences since January 1997 served less than 10 years of them, actually in prison." And "Statistics were kept for the 5 years that capital punishment was suspended in Britain (1965-1969) and these showed a 125% rise in murders that would have attracted a death sentence. Whilst statistically all this is true" however As stated above, Texas carries out far more executions than any other American state (between 1982 and 2007 it executed 404 men and 2 women) and there is now clear evidence of a deterrent effect. My friend Rob Gallagher (author of Before the Needles website) has done an analysis of the situation using official FBI homicide figures. Between 1980 and 2000, there were 41,783 murders in Texas
In 1980 alone, 2,392 people died by homicide, giving it a murder rate of 16.88 for every 100,000 of the population. (The U.S. ave
Debate Round No. 1


(I had actually requested in round 1 that:

"The format of this debate will be round one for definitions (in first Con I simply expect my opponent to respond to my definitions) and the others for argument."

Because Con argued in this time, I ask Con to forfeit the last round that we have equal time for argumentation.)

When we look at the death penalty, we see am archaically old punishment that can only be described as cruel and unusual that just doesn't fit in with modern views of the criminal justice system. I will argue that the death penalty is a cruel punishment and that it kills innocent prisoners. First, to Con's case:

In Con's prompt response, for which I thank him, he laid out a set of value criteria and only one real contention; the strong deterrent the death penalty provides.

Firstly, Con tries to set this debate strictly based on a utilitarian philosophy. However, he provided no evidence for this claim, and we refute it, as libertarian philosophy around whether it is ever morally correct for the state to take a life is also important in this debate.

Secondly, Con raised his argument, coming in three parts:

1. The death penalty deters crime.

2. The state has a responsibility to reduce crime.

3. Crime rates rise when the death penalty is enforced.

We agree with the second contention, however, it was interesting my opponent talked in terms of the state's 'obligation' while trying to uphold a strictly utilitarian debate, which was a contradiction in terms. We disagree with the first and third contentions, about the death penalty's detterent effect.

Firstly, my opponent has already conceded that "where the crime is committed in the heat of the moment there is no likelihood that any punishment will act as a deterrent," and so this point now only considers 1st degree, planned, murder. In the first instance, we consider that there simply is no real deterrent effect on committers of 1st degree murder; we believe that if they have planned their killing they are likely to be either mentally ill or martyrs (in the case of terrorists) or believe they will not be caught, and in either case the deterrent effect will have no impact whatsoever. Secondly, even if it did, we consider that the difference between the deterrent of prisons and the death penalty is miniscule. My opponent attempts to normalise prison, saying that prisoners receive three square meals and perhaps parole, but in fact, inside many prisons is rape, of which over 2000 cases in prisons were reported last year [1], and, in many of the high-security prisons 1st degree murderers would inhabit, there is no freedom of movement. In the view of many potential murderers, the death penalty would be an 'easy way out' that would be preferred to prisons, if these thoughts were considered at all.

Secondly, my opponent claims that it is empirically true that murder rates rise when the death penalty is stopped. Firstly, he has not provided any unbiased source for these statistics. Secondly, according to these statistics, the crimes that actually rose were 'fights involving fists and feet, stabbing and cutting by glass or a broken bottle, shooting and strangling. 72% of the victims were male with younger men being most at risk', exacly the sort of unplanned heat-of-the-moment crimes which he said he did not support the death penalty for. Finally, we believe that other associated causes, such as population increases and rising poverty can be better associated with rising murder rates.

--------Own Case--------

Contention One:

Firstly, on a principled level, we object to the death penalty, in that we say that a system of execution is basically inhumane. Firstly, we object to the very idea of this execution. The group my opponent wishes to execute are 1st degree murderers, but the state is almost lowered to their level when it commits an act of extreme violence such as killing a person. Secondly, it is inhumane in terms of the pain and suffering inflicted upon the victim and their family. The death penalty in the form I presume my opponent supports, lethal injection, is highly painful; scientists have theorised that the anaesthetic used wears off before the death of the prisoner [2]. For this reason, we argue that it is clearly inhumane. Furthermore, it causes great suffering for the accused's family; they cannot visit their family member anymore.

Contention Two

Secondly, some prisoners who are executed are later found to be not guilty. Even years after conviction, convicted killers can be found to be innocent as new evidence comes to light. 139 cases of this kind, where convictions have subsequently been quashed [3], and there may be others which have not been discovered. If these prisoners were sent to prison, they would have been freed.



joshuaXlawyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


As my opponent forfeited, my arguments extend forward. Please vote Pro.


joshuaXlawyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Likewise for this round. Vote pro.


joshuaXlawyer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by salve 7 years ago
Oh, that's fine, don't worry. Maybe some other time.
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 7 years ago
sorry for that and sorry for the forfeits i have been busy sorry with high school LD and all.
Posted by salve 7 years ago

The original intention was that you just post definitions in round one. For this reason, can you forfeit the last round so we have equal argument time?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TayJay13 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Demauscian 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:21