The Instigator
Nordenkalt444
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
4saken
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

The death penalty should be abolished

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
4saken
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/22/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,748 times Debate No: 34064
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (4)

 

Nordenkalt444

Pro

There are many cases where people debate on this topic on how "humane" it is, but I want to talk more about effectiveness. I'd be glad to challenge anyone to this debate.
4saken

Con

I would like to thank Pro for starting this debate.
In this debate, I will argue that the death penalty should not be abolished.

I wish Pro good luck. Please present your case.
Debate Round No. 1
Nordenkalt444

Pro

I'd like to think Con for accepting this debate.

There's many reasons why the death penalty should be abolished, but I'd like to share the idea that I think is most logical and reasonable. Sure, it would be a lot more expensive to keep people in prison rather than just executing them but it's a lot more effective. By executing criminals, as silly as it seems you're actually doing most of them a favor by ending their lives. Most people would rather die than to stay in prison, and they couldn't live with whatever they've done.

Also, there are the family and friends of the prisoner. Even though there are some cases where the prisoner's crime relates to how he grew up in his family, the family in most cases is in no way responsible. To execute a prisoner would have his parents, children, or siblings alike to hate the state forever for doing that to him.

That's why if you think about it, life imprisonment is actually a lot more of a punishing factor than execution for the prisoner himself.
4saken

Con

I would like to thank Pro for his arguments.

Pro has admitted that keeping criminals in prison is much more expensive than executing them, but he believes that the prison is a more effective punishment as "most people would rather die than to stay in prison". However, I think that this is purely his assumption. If most people prefer death, why don't they just commit suicide? The fact is 99.9% of all convicted capital murderers and their attorneys argue for life, not death, in the punishment phase of their trial. [1] Therefore we can see that the criminals fear death most.

Pro's second argument is the family of the executed criminals will hate the state forever. But how about the victims' family? Do you think they will be happy if the criminals are not punished with what they deserve? In short, no matter what we do, someone will be unhappy. If we are too concerned with that, we will be unable to make any decision at all. Therefore, the criminals' family's "hatred" is not a reason for us to abolish the death penalty.

The reason why we should keep the death penalty is because of its deterrence effect. In one of his research in 1975, Professor Isaac Ehrlich of the University of Buffalo estimated that each execution deterred about seven or eight homicides. [2] Additional research of Professor Stephen K. Layson of the University of North Carolina has reconfirmed Professor Ehrlich's results. [3] There are also newer studies confirming the deterrence effect of death penalty. Seventeen out of twenty four studies carried out from 1996 to 2010 claim that the death penalty does deter crime. [4] For example, Professors Hashem Dezhbakhsh of Emory University and Joanna Shepherd of Clemson University, after analysing the panel data covering the fifty states from 1960 to 2000, found out that the murder rate increases when the death penalty is abolished and decreases when it is reinstated. [5] In another study, Joana Shepherd found out that the death penalty "deters murders previously believed to be undeterrable: crimes of passion and murders by intimates". [6] In short, the death penalty can deter crime. It can save lives.


[1] http://sobek.colorado.edu...
[2] "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death," (1975), Isaac Ehrlich
[3] "Homicide and Deterrence: A Reexamination of the United States Time-Series Evidence," (1985), Stephen K. Layson
[4] http://www.cjlf.org...
[5] "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a 'Judicial Experiment'", Hashem Dezhbakhsh and Joanna Shepherd (2003)
[6] "Murders of Passion, Execution Delays, and the Deterrence of Capital Punishment", Joanna Shepherd (2003)
Debate Round No. 2
Nordenkalt444

Pro

Con's argument seems logical, but there's not a whole lot of CURRENT sources to back him up.

You asked why prisoners don't commit suicide, they do. It's a big problem in states that have outlawed capital punishment but that just shows that prisoners don't want to be in prison. Because of this, they would rather commit suicide than to stay in their conditions.

http://solitarywatch.com...

Also, nearly all attorneys and their convicts want to testify against the death penalty because that's the attorney's opinion. In fact, a lot of criminals who testify for life imprisonment often regret it later on as they live their experiences in prison and that's why suicide rates are so high. This shows that life imprisonment is much more punishing than execution. You're doing them a favor, and hurting their innocent loved ones.

Also some of your sources are outdated to the 1970s and 1980s, not to be intimidating but do you think you can post some more up to date sources?
4saken

Con

According to Pro's source, the California prison suicide rate is 24 per 100,000 (0.024%) while the national state prison suicide rate is 16 per 100,000 (0.016%). If it is true that "most people would rather die than to stay in prison", shouldn't the suicide rate be much higher than that?

Pro said that "nearly all attorneys and their convicts want to testify against the death penalty because that's the attorney's opinion". I think this is another assumption. I would like Pro to present the evidence that support his claim. There is also no evidence showing that "a lot of criminals who testify for life imprisonment often regret it later on as they live their experiences in prison", since the suicide rate is not as high as Pro thinks.

Regarding my source, in order to figure out whether the death penalty can deter crime we will need the data of a long period time, such as the study I cited above which used the data from 1960 to 2000, therefore the studies of 1970s and 1980s are not that outdated. I also stated that there are newer studies confirming the deterrence effect of death penalty. For example, 17 out of 24 studies carried out from 1996 to 2010 claim that the death penalty does deter crime. [1] You can see their abstracts here. [2] Moreover, since the death penalty can deter crime more effectively than other punishment, it's safe to assume that it is what the criminals fear most, as Dudley Sharp has said "which we fear the most deters the most". [3]



[1] http://www.cjlf.org...
[2] http://www.cjlf.org...
[3] http://sobek.colorado.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
Nordenkalt444

Pro

I forgot to tell Con that I didn't intend to compare prison suicide rates with the state of California and the national average (which is actually above the national average like you said)). The point is that nobody wants to stay in prison, even if it means execution. We cannot reward bad behavior by allowing them to not live with whatever they've done.

In almost all cases that involve attorneys, the attorneys speak for the prisoner giving them access to whatever they want to say to a court of law. Most attorneys fight for decisions that would increase their profits instead of what's good for rehabilitating the prisoner. Which is what the death penalty would do, in most states a sentence of death would have to go to an appeals court immediately. Which, in fact, puts more money into the attorney's pocket. Of course prisoners aren't forced to hire attorneys, but they often do.

By the way, I looked at some of your sources. Not too bad, although I think that they should have opinions or facts speaking for the death penalty. Your first two are the same thing, and only give a tally of executions with deterrence taken place since 1996. Your last one contains execution procedures and only debates about the cost of imprisonment vs. the death penalty.

http://criminal.lawyers.com...
http://www.capitalpunishmentincontext.org...
4saken

Con

I didn't try to compare the California prison suicide rate with the national state prison average either. My point is the suicide rates in both cases are low and therefore do not prove that "most people would rather die than to stay in prison".

Pro's second point is contradicting itself. He said that "Most attorneys fight for decisions that would increase their profits instead of what's good for rehabilitating the prisoner" in order to explain why they choose "life in prison" over "death penalty". It means that according to him, the "life in prison" sentence will bring them more profit while the death sentence is good for rehabilitating (which is obviously incorrect). Then he said that "Which is what the death penalty would do, in most states a sentence of death would have to go to an appeals court immediately. Which, in fact, puts more money into the attorney's pocket." So if the death sentence brings them more money, why are they against it?

Regarding the deterrence effect of death penalty, I've presented many studies that have the conclusion that the death penalty deters crime, and I believe that Pro hasn't had a satisfactory rebuttal to them.
Debate Round No. 4
Nordenkalt444

Pro

I believe that Con misunderstands my point and the point that these sources bring out. I never said that the life sentence brings them more profit and the death sentence is good for rehabilitation, in fact I said the complete opposite and provided proof. Your "proof" however never mentions the case you try to make but only debates on the expense of the death penalty vs. life imprisonment. Which reminds me, don't you think that the deterrence rate should be a lot higher in states that practice capital punishment? There's a lot of data that shows that there really is no significant difference of deterrence in states with or without the death penalty.

Putting prisoners to death would not rehabilitate them, and would also cause heartache for his/her usually innocent loved ones. Now it's up to you, the voters, to decide what the best approach is. Besides, my home state of Maryland recently abolished the death penalty and is expecting further decrease in crime.

http://www.google.com...

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
4saken

Con

I said in Round 2 that "99.9% of all convicted capital murderers and their attorneys argue for life, not death" in order to prove that the criminals fear death most. Pro refuted it by saying that it's the attorneys' ideas, not the criminals, and they do that for their own benefit. Now Pro is saying something totally opposite. If the death penalty brings profit to the attorney, why "99.9% of all convicted capital murderers and their attorneys argue for life, not death". And it has nothing to do with my original point "the criminals fear death most" anyway, so I believe that Pro has dropped this argument.

Deterrence rate is not crime rate. For example, state A has the crime rate of 5 when the capital punishment is used and 7 when it isn't, state B has the crime rate of 3 when the capital punishment is used and 5 when it isn't. The deterrence effect is obvious but we have state A when the capital punishment is used and state B when the capital punishment isn't used have the same crime rate.


Summary of the debate

- Pro's points
+ Life in prison is the harsher penalty: I've refuted this.
+ The criminal's family will be unhappy: I've also refuted this.

- My points
+ The death penalty deters crime: Pro didn't have a satisfactory rebuttal to this.
+ Actually not my point but in Round 1 Pro admitted that life in prison is much more expensive than the death penalty.

Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by kellucky 3 years ago
kellucky
It actually cost more to put someone to death than to imprison them for life. It's because of all the court costs with appeals. However! I say it's worth it some times.
Posted by MaxD.Freeman 3 years ago
MaxD.Freeman
To begin with, the initiating party in this argument did not do a good job of supporting his argument. This, however, for anyone who should read this, more than likely discredits the argument that death penalty should be abolished. However, speaking as an attorney, the death penalty is something that should be abolished. I once represented a client who had murdered his own wife, son, and close friend. To execute this man in their names is to equate his life to the lost lives of the victims. If this is true, we are saying that his life is worth just as much to the state in question as the lost lives of all three victims. Does any of this sound "logical" to you. I practice ethics, and this sounds very UN-ethical!
Posted by AnonyFeline 3 years ago
AnonyFeline
...the symptoms after the fact.
Posted by AnonyFeline 3 years ago
AnonyFeline
TO: TheConservative

Any form of heinous crime, including murder of 1, 20+, or 100+ people, is unacceptable.

To sentence a murderer to death would be to equate the value of that individual's life to the life of the 20+ people that (you site in your post) they murdered. In effect, you contend that each victim's life (assuming 20 victims) is worth an equivalent fraction or percentage (1/20th or 5%) of that of the assailant. Would we then choose a less humane capital punishment for the murder of 20 people as opposed to just 3? It is not possible to kill the murderer 20 times, once for each victim, or 3 times, but sadly only once. By your logic, it actually reduces the value of each victim's life by equating it to that of the murderer. Should the capital punishment be proportional in severity to the number of victims? to the suffering of the victims? to the age of the victims?

Obviously not.

It is an imperfect solution to allow the murderer a semi-comfortable incarceration, but the justice you are striving for is less universal and more personal and subjective. The death of the assailant does not return those who have been killed, nor does it strive for justice, aside from the carnal and vitriol emotional release of an indirect form of revenge. There were 20 people dead, and now there are 21., and we are all as a society responsible for the one more death. Justice is beyond the scope of the personal feelings of the victims' families and survivors. It is a universal ideal, rather than a personal or even social vendetta. That one more life lost is not going to change a thing.

If capital punishment is means to instill a fear of committing the act of murder, then it is not working very well. It is widely known, and has been practiced for millennia, if not longer, that conviction of certain crimes comes with the death penalty, yet criminals they still commit them. Perhaps we should concentrate on finding the root causes before the fact, rather than focusing on
Posted by AnonyFeline 3 years ago
AnonyFeline
The debate here is clearly stated, but incomplete, and does not adequately address the larger philosophical issue of the value of a human life. To take another life based on our current infantile understanding of justice, is an extremely arrogant stance. Hammurabi believed it was justice to remove one's hands for thievery, some cultures make stealing punishable by death, some extreme wings of Sharia law believe infidelity to be a crime punishable by death, and simple betrayal to the Irish/Italian mafia, Japanese Yakuza, or Chinese Triad is also punishable by death. A general theme to all of these examples is that of an eye for an eye or tit for tat. In its essence, our modern desire for justice is more an emotional act of controlled vengeance, which in itself, is not an adequate form of justice (see Plato) in the grand scheme of society as a whole. Justice has a higher compass than that of our personal vendettas or desire for an emotional resolution for the victims. For an individual to commit such a heinous act that would prompt capital punishment, is a result of a failure of society to ensure an environment that would not create such an individual. It then would follow that it is due to society that the individual committed the act and so that society must pay (for their incarceration). The better argument is not that we should or should not pay for their incarceration, but what can we do to prevent their violent action and incarceration in the first place? Life is precious. Human life is very precious. Who are we to decide that these individuals may not be come productive citizens even in incarceration? Finally the website deathpenalty.org shows exonerations of criminals previously found guilty. The death penalty is permanent. Incarceration, though perhaps unresolved for the victim's families, is not. How we quantify the value innocent person put to death vs a guilty person incarcerated? The point seems moot when put into perspective.
Posted by TheConserative 3 years ago
TheConserative
So if a man were to go on a shooting spree in a large city like Chicago, L.A, or even D.C and kills 20+ people including children. So he should sit in a prison where the taxpayers pay for his 3 square meals, books, and exercise? Where I come from that is unacceptable.
Posted by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
to do whatever it is that they did.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
Nordenkalt4444sakenTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Clear con win. Pros argument that execution is a favor was exposed for what it is--a bad argument, as was his argument about families being upset. Moreover Pro doesn't impact his arguments at all, compare this to Pros case where innocent lives are saved and the contrast is obvious.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Nordenkalt4444sakenTied
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Reasons for voting decision: To contest Con's sources, Pro needed to present countering data and argue why it was better than Con's. He didn't do that, so Con wins arguments by virtue of having supporting data.
Vote Placed by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Nordenkalt4444sakenTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con refuted Pro's points. Pro didn't refute Con's points. I don't normally vote source points, but Con had persuasive sources, while Pro just threw in some sources without relating them to what he was saying.
Vote Placed by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
Nordenkalt4444sakenTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This is a hands down win for Con. The only point's that pro is pushing lack a substantial amount of weight. First of all, the families part. As Con said, the families of the victim are much, much more important. Why should the families of a person who violated another humans rights be included as an emotional burden? Also how is giving someone lige in prison more of a punishing factor? If they are dead, they can literally never commit the crime again. Also if someone did something bad enough to be put on trial for death penalty, than it is a risk not putting them to death. Especially since 60% of all criminals are repeat criminals. But overall Con wins this debate with his deterrance argument. He has given a BOP to satisfy how not only the DP will get criminals off the street to prevent any further crimes, but he also demonstrates that by enabling the DP criminals are less likely to commit the same crime again in the future. I know if I saw someone being killed, I would be less likely