The Instigator
gleclercNHS
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
smarshNHS
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

The Death Penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/16/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 663 times Debate No: 39010
Debate Rounds (5)
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gleclercNHS

Con

I am very much against the death penalty. I have this stand on this issue for the following reasons. The United States is already over $1 trillion in debt, so we do not need to contribute to that amount with granting death penalty to criminals. According to editor of The Death Penalty, William Dudley, "In a study done in North Carolina, the death penalty costs them $2.16 million more than a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. In Texas, the death penalty costs around $2.3 million, nearly three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a maximum security jail for forty years" (Dudley 38). The death penalty is a very costly punishment compared to keeping criminals in jail, and is granted quite often and contributes to the amount of debt of the United States.

In fact, the death penalty does not deter (prevent) any future crimes from happening. "In one study done in Oklahoma, it was found that after Oklahoma resumed capital punishment no deterrent effect was found-- in fact, a brutalization effect (increase in homicides) was reported" (Dudley 40). This proves that capital punishment does not lower crime rates-- in this case, it increased them. Life in prison guarantees no future crimes; therefore, I think, we should not waste the money on murdering criminals when granting them a life sentence in prison would do the same job at a much less cost.
smarshNHS

Pro

There are many reasonable arguments against the death penalty. However, we are dealing with a life and death issue. When dealing with an issue of this magnitude I believe there should be great consequences. Statistics reveal that the death penalty is very costly. I think that when an issue regards human life all costs must be put aside. The actions that lead to the death penalty further justify the reason to put the aside the price. As a nation, the United States has a priority to stand by people and their rights. A nation that solely focuses on cost is a nation that does not have its priorities in line. Being a nation of the people, I think we must stand beside the victims and protect their violated rights. The 15th amendment states that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" (US Constitution). Simply, without the due process of law a person can not be deprived of their natural rights. This amendment stands alongside the victims. If a criminal is willing to interfere, break the law and deprive a person of their rights, I believe they should be punished to the maximum extent. If murderers do not value the rights of others, they should not be allowed to have those rights for themselves.

Along with serving justice, the death penalty focuses on reasonable retribution. In order to be in consideration to earn the death penalty, a person must go to great measures to break laws. In the state of Texas to get the death penalty you must have committed a murder of a public officer, multiple persons, a person under 16 years of age and during a felony. Committing a murder in the first degree in Florida makes a person eligible for the penalty (Death Penalty Information Center). What it takes to be deserving of the punishment are the most ruthless and gruesome of crimes. The death penalty takes the lives of inhuman killers and law breakers. Not your everyday shoplifters and car thieves are prosecuted to receive the death penalty. Only the most extreme of criminals are eligible for the punishment. I believe that an extreme law breaker should be punished in an extreme manner. Jails and prisons are for people to be rehabilitated. Death is for those who commit the few and most dangerous of laws.
Debate Round No. 1
gleclercNHS

Con

I agree with your point that if a person violates another person's natural rights and their rights within the country, their rights should be taken away. But, I believe murdering them is a little too extreme. Unfortunately, innocent people are being accused of the crimes that have been committed. "There are, quite simply, too many errors in the criminal justice system and too many innocent people turning up on death row" (Dudley 13). Those innocent people are being accused for a crime they had absolutely no involvement in and if the crime is extremely harsh, then those innocent people are given the death sentence.

You also mentioned that the criminals that take away the life of another (or others) should receive an extreme punishment. If it is not right for the murder to kill people, then isn't it wrong for the state to kill the murderer (Williams 137)? This is sending out the wrong message to criminals and other people. If it is a crime to murder another human being, then isn't it still a crime even if the state does it? This is where views on the subject get contradicting. The state is not exempt from the same laws as the citizens of that state, or the United States as a whole, for that matter.
smarshNHS

Pro

In America the death penalty has always been a form of justice for murders and traitors. Even the Founding Fathers of our nation believed in this form of punishment (Singh). Starting in the 1700s murders and traitors were put to death for immoral crimes so I think this is very much a part of our culture.

The likelihood of killing an innocent person is not high. "With new technology and DNA testing we can be extra certain that the true criminal will be put to death" (Rosenkrantz) . As a result the guilty person would be put to death and not the innocent person because the advancement of technology.

In my opinion the death penalty is not sending out the wrong message. In fact, it informs people that they will be killed if they commit inhuman murders or crimes such as raping children.
Debate Round No. 2
gleclercNHS

Con

gleclercNHS forfeited this round.
smarshNHS

Pro

smarshNHS forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
gleclercNHS

Con

I personally believe that the death penalty is causing more violence to occur and is not protecting human life. "Together with efforts to address the root of causes of violence and to require restitution from criminals, it would help break the cycle of violence and protect human life-- a moral 'bottom line' that we can all support" (Collecchi) By supporting the death penalty we are not supporting the criminals' natural rights and their right to live.
The death penalty is also immoral. It is discriminatory, its ability to protect human life through deterrence fails, and it sends the message that violence is a solution and not a problem (Colecchi). Having said this, it fails the moral tests and goes against what our country was built upon.
smarshNHS

Pro

The death penalty is not supposed to protect life because it is designed to kill people that commit an unjust crime, which I believe is fair. In 1792- 1750BC the Code of Hammurabi was established. Within this code I believe in the saying "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (Hammurabi). I think that for every wrong done there should be a just consequence. The death penalty also provides closure for victims. "family members who have witnessed executions " are grateful for the experience, sad that it had to come to that, but satisfied that justice has been fulfilled" (Klaas). As a result there is a less of a threat to the family. Also since the killer is getting the death penalty other families do not have to worry about being a victim.
Debate Round No. 4
gleclercNHS

Con

In your point "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (Hammurabi) I believe the message being sent out is encouraging violence. Supporting that statement is like supporting the death penalty. "By supporting the death penalty we send out the dangerous message to impressionable minds that violence is a way to resolve problems. 'Thou shalt not kill' cannot be taught by the state-sponsored execution of criminals" (Williams 42). This is establishing the idea that violence is a way to resolve issues.
There are other alternatives to the death penalty where the criminal would be in just as much pain. "Instead of using the death penalty to express society's rage at wanton murder, we would be better off forcing remorseless and callous criminals to confront their depravity and make them realize how much pain they cause to others" (Williams 45). Life in prison without parole is a much cheaper alternative to the death penalty. It is also moral and practical. Life in prison removes the criminal from society and is quickly forgotten.
smarshNHS

Pro

In my opinion, I believe that if someone murders another person they should be killed too. Once again the 15th amendment supports this statement. Punishment should fit the crime because it is just (Danzig). The death penalty is not to cause someone pain, it is for justice. There are ways to execute criminals that are not always cruel such as a gas chamber and lethal injections (Bohm). Overall the death penalty has been a part of American culture for years, and I do not think it is fair to reconsider things now. If criminals commit inhuman crimes I believe the death penalty is the correct sentence.
Debate Round No. 5
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