The Instigator
W1ll1ph0n3
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
ThereforeIAm
Con (against)
Losing
4 Points

The Death Penalty should be abolished

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
W1ll1ph0n3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/3/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 692 times Debate No: 58531
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (13)
Votes (3)

 

W1ll1ph0n3

Pro

Hi, I wanted to discuss a very important issue: the Death Penalty
As a progressive I'm against it and my view is getting more and more support as I see that those in favor of the Death Penalty have little or no valid argument.

Here are some fact:
_The Death Penalty costs more than life imprisonment
_There is absolutely no evidence that it deters crime (just look at crime rates in the US compared to Europe wich abolished it)
_For every 100 executed prisoners there are likely 4 innocent people being executed
_It diminishes society to the same moral level as the criminals
_Human behavior is mostly determined by the environment and can be changed by a caring environment (in approx. 80% of violent criminals)
-The countries who abolished it usually have lower crime rates then those who didn't
_The Death Penalty creates a society that promotes revenge and bloodthirst

After all these arguments I know no Death Penalty supporter who was able to give me a valid reason why I should support it. So I'm asking the the Death Penalty supporters in the Debate.org community if they are able to do so (I don't think so but I'm an open-minded individual)
ThereforeIAm

Con

Instigator - "The Death Penalty costs more than life imprisonment"

You use no statistics to back this claim, and this could very well be a fabrication. From what I have been able to find through research, there are varying opinions of people much smarter than me who study this for a living, and still can't agree to which is more expensive. - http://deathpenalty.procon.org...

Instigator - "There is absolutely no evidence that it deters crime (just look at crime rates in the US compared to Europe wich abolished it)"

There is also no evidence that it DOES'NT deter crime, so this statement is inadmissible and does not make a point either way. Furthermore, comparing US to Europe is impossible with such a broad statement. Crime rates are not solely affected by execution rates. Culture, economics, history, criminal laws all affect each country in different ways and they share very little with each other. If Europe's economy suddenly collapses, and mass criminal action starts occurring, can I use that as a "statistic" to back my argument even though the main effects are not pertaining to execution rates? No, because that doesn't make sense.

Instigator - "For every 100 executed prisoners there are likely 4 innocent people being executed."

And for every 100 executed prisoners, 96 of those were likely guilty... I am missing the point? I think what you were going for is determining an acceptable failure rate. If we determine that the death penalty is not worth it on the chance that we execute an innocent man, do we stop military action in town and cities across the world because the chance of civilian "innocent" casualties are too high? It would follow the same logic.

- It diminishes society to the same moral level as the criminals

Society is based on laws which restrict or enable its citizens to accomplish certain things with punishment or reward. The criminal has previous knowledge of the restrictions and consequences of the society he lives in before he determines his course of action. He makes his decision knowingly, and therefore accepts the consequences by doing so. If you take the opposite approach, and apply in a positive manner, should we restrict the consequences of people who do the right thing?
The reasoning behind "lowering society to the standards of the criminal" is vague and does not seem to apply directly to the actual issue of abolishing the death penalty or not. If the intent was to question the morality of killing someone, it should have been worded much differently.

Instigator - "Human behavior is mostly determined by the environment and can be changed by a caring environment (in approx. 80% of violent criminals)"

The Nature v Nurture argument is very much still just that: an argument. To make such a broad statement (80% figure) is very assuming in nature. But even so, this point in your argument defeats itself. If 80% of all violent criminals are able to be taught to be civilized, what about the other 20%? If you take all the violent criminals, and then the percentage of those which are executed, does that leave you with less than 20%? My guess is that is would.

Instigator - "The countries who abolished it usually have lower crime rates then those who didn't"

This is a repetition of a point you made earlier with Europe vs USA comparison.

Instigator - "The Death Penalty creates a society that promotes revenge and blood thirst."

Besides missing a vital word, I agree with this point. I would insert that "The Death Penalty HELPS create....". The question is, is that worth the results?
Debate Round No. 1
W1ll1ph0n3

Pro

Well the Death Penalty does cost more. That is due to the numerous appeals. Now some Death Penalty supporters might say that prisoners shouldn't have those appeals. However if that were the case than approx. 30 out 100 prisoners would be wrongfully executed. In fact thanks to the appeals, about 30% of prisoners sentenced to death either get free due to lack of proof, or just have to serve some years in jail. So if we didn't permit those appeals we would be killing 30 possibly innocent people out of a hundred, and that is really unacceptable.

Now when it comes to the nature vs. nurture debate, I understand that you're concerned about the 20% that seem to never learn their lesson. But do you think that it's right to kill 100 prisoners knowing that 80 of them could potentially become model citizens, just to kill 20 that probably won't?
There is no reason to kill them, we can keep them in prison.

But then you said that keeping people in jail for the rest of their lives is more inhumane than killing them. I think that depends on what kind of prison you think of. Prison doesn't necessarily mean that we have to lock prisoners in a 10m2 cell all day. We could try the scandinavian model, where prisoners can participate in recreational activities that would also benefit the society they live in.

Now I know that the US vs. Europe example wasn't the best argument, but still in most european countries society tries to look at crime in a different way than in America. Instead of punishing criminals in the harshest way possible, society tries to help criminals become better persons, and we certainly won't make criminals better persons by killing them... So the US should definitely try that approach.

Also isn't it quite shameful that the US and Japan are the only two countries in the G8 to have Capital Punishment (especially if we consider that even Russia has a moratorium on it).
ThereforeIAm

Con

ThereforeIAm forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thehumanistpreacher 2 years ago
thehumanistpreacher
It's possible Con could of won if not for the forfeit. The instigator possibly could of provided so sources to back up his statement like quotes or government websites.
Posted by thenewkidd 2 years ago
thenewkidd
So, here comes the logic and a little bit of math.
If someone is on Death Row for 10 years.. and they get 5 appeals.. that would cost X amount of dollars...
If someone that gets life in prison and they are still in prison for 15 to 20 years (could be more because it's life right?)... do the people get a "buy 5 appeals and get 3 free" or do appeals start costing less the more and more you get after you "buy" a certain amount?

that makes no sense.
Do appeals cost more specifically to death row folks than lifer folks?

WAIT.. I know the answer.. Society doesn't care if your innocent if you get life in prison because, hey.. at least you are alive!
Posted by thenewkidd 2 years ago
thenewkidd
""Well the Death Penalty does cost more. That is due to the numerous appeals. Now some Death Penalty supporters might say that prisoners shouldn't have those appeals. However if that were the case than approx. 30 out 100 prisoners would be wrongfully executed. In fact thanks to the appeals, about 30% of prisoners sentenced to death either get free due to lack of proof, or just have to serve some years in jail. So if we didn't permit those appeals we would be killing 30 possibly innocent people out of a hundred, and that is really unacceptable.""

I have to comment on this part of their debate and just want to bring forth some logic.. it's not proof or disproof that the death penalty should be abolished but lets think about this for a minute.

Why does a prisoner on Death Row get more appeals than someone that gets life in prison?
Isn't it just as tragic that someone get sent to life in prison wrongly convicted than someone from death row?
I find it pretty hypocritical to deny someone that gets life in prison just as many (if not more) appeals than someone on death row..
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
Just on a side note, I support the DP for certain punishments, namely crimes against humanity. I believe that genociadaires and their ilk have forfeited what claims they had to their lives. However, crimes against humanity are exceedingly rare, and only a few hundred people alive to day have been found or might be found guilty of them.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
Greyscale,

By that logic, under a utilitarian paradigm, one might be incentivized to kill someone every three months, just to deter other crimes. I might make the DP the punishment for less severe offenses just to cash in on its deterrent value.

While I understand that this isn't what your arguing, the implications of it scare me. If we use deterrence as an argument to justify the DP, and if we agree that deterrent effects last only 3 months after an execution, than unless we execute someone every three months, we lose our justification for keeping the penalty around. If it's not deterring anyone, we might as well get rid of it...So, while your stats are interesting, they also are unsettling to me as a reader.
Posted by Grayscale 2 years ago
Grayscale
As a criminologist major, I'm practically reeling from all the falsehoods in here provided by the pro side. I would love to tackle you on this issue as 2 of your 5 points are as a matter of fact false, 2 of your 5 I can't verify (too much conflicting information), and 1 of your 5 is just an opinion.

I'm just going to tackle your second claim that the death penalty has no deterrent effect because I believe the others will have a harder time finding this material if they haven't dedicated themselves to the field.

For those that deny its efficacy of deterrence have not really done any research on the topic. There are items which affect the outcome though, media exposure, swiftness, and form of execution, etc. I"d recommend everyone to read the following peer reviewed journals. Estimates of the deterrent effect of alternative execution methods in the United States: 1978"2000 by Zimmerman, P. R.; Publicized executions and homicide, 1950-1980 by Stack Steven; Prison conditions, capital punishment and deterrence by Katz, L.; Levitt, S. D.; Shustorovich, E. Getting off death row: Commuted sentences and the deterrent effect of capital punishment by Mocan, H. Naci; Gittings, R. Kaj

In Capital punishment, the deterrence is temporary but present, through empirical studies, it was found that the reach of deterrence only covered the same type of crimes for which the capital sentences were levied against. Also the effects of deterrence lasted for 2 to 3 months, before crime level would rise back up to normal levels.

Essentially the death penalty offers a cyclical form of deterrence which is not provided at all when the death penalty isn't present. Parallels can be made when one receives a speeding ticket, for the next 2-3 months you drive safe because the next one is going to really impact you (insurance cost, record marking etc), but after a while the memory/fear fades and the action return to the previous default.
Posted by ben671176 2 years ago
ben671176
Even if the Death Penalty costs more at least they're dead and not living off the taxes of the victims.
Posted by stackerz21 2 years ago
stackerz21
We need JUSTICE!!
Posted by schachdame 2 years ago
schachdame
Also: dogs and humans should not be treated equally here because you either degrade humans or you give dogs self-awareness too much credit. Animals need rights but they don't need human rights.
Posted by schachdame 2 years ago
schachdame
If you allow your government to make things legal that should not be, than you have a wrong understanding of justice. Considering that there are many countries that don't regard it as legal, this is certainly not a clear point of yours. What qualifies the government to act in a way that it withholds/illegalizes for it's citizens? Isn't there a role model relationship here?

Also: we might talk about letting them die, if they prefer to over being in jail. But that's suicide and their own choice.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
W1ll1ph0n3ThereforeIAmTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Ff
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
W1ll1ph0n3ThereforeIAmTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
W1ll1ph0n3ThereforeIAmTied
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Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture