The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
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The death penalty should exist.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/4/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,180 times Debate No: 76173
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
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I challenge my friend Kryptic to this debate.
Resolved: The death penalty should exist in the United States.
Kryptic and I both share the onus, which is that I must prove that the death penalty should not exist whereas my opponent must prove it should. Whoever has more convincing/sound arguments wins this debate. We are both advocating for a change in the status quo in at least some areas of the US, so the onus is logically shared.

1. Maintain appropriate conduct

2. No trolling/kritiks/semantics/forfeits/etc.
3. Start in round one with arguments and waive the final round with something along the lines of "round waived in compliance with rule 3"
4. Keep debate structure

Death penalty: the punishment of execution, administered to someone legally convicted of a capital crime.
should: ought to; must
exist: continue to be in policy or come into policy

Round structure:
Round X: What con does | What pro does

R1: Outline debate | Constructive arguments
R2: Constructive arguments | Rebuttals
R3: Rebuttals | Defense to rebuttals
R4: Defense to rebuttals | Waive

If you want me to change anything let me know. Thanks!


Thankyou for debating me on this topic. I am Pro (for) the death penalty.
I do not advocate everyone is deserving of the death penalty, only someone who is destructive of some ones life, i.e; Murderer, Rapist, Child abuser... or anyone who has committed something directly to a person that has left them severely damaged either physically, emotionally or sexually.
My reasoning as to why someone should receive the death penalty is...:
A, The criminal refuses psychological help.
B, The criminal can find loop holes to eventually get back into normal society.
C, The criminal does not show remorse for the crime.
D, The criminal is suspected or admits to re-offenses if let out.
E, The criminal causes more crimes within the prison.
F, The criminal has an overly short crime sentence for the crime. (suspected of getting a good deal)

Obviously, as I said previously, I only advocate the death penalty, or at least death row for criminals who is under those categories. And who has lead a person to be severely damaged physically, emotionally or sexually on purpose.

These people who are just bad people, even though they most likely got the short end of the stick growing up and had a horrible life, possibly being subjected to the same torment and are simply in the vampire effect stage, are not fit to be in society.

I have debated a few other people on the subject of education, free will and rights for adolescents and animals.
In all of these I have used the same argument and I believe it's fitting for this one also.

In society, we have all agreed to, with or without knowing, that to be in society we must comply with the law, some are grey and we break them often; speeding, drug use etc. But others are black and white; rape, murder, abuse etc.

We all agree that the last 3 are not fit for our society and we condemn those who commit such acts; that means that we all agree that the people who commit these crimes should be put in an isolated environment that is monitored to make sure they stay there. The problem I have is that a lot of paedophiles get released and re-offend, same thing with rapists and sometimes murderers (usually in gangs or cults though, or just psychopaths).

If we were all assured that they would live comfortably under surveillance without the knowledge of public events for the rest of their life, being treated with doctors and psychologists appropriately, then a lot of us would be completely okay with that. Also, the criminals should be working within the prison in a confined area (so they enter with nothing but clothes and leave with nothing but clothes, so they can't make weapons etc.) with no payment.

However, after a while we have to consider... why does a criminal get the best of both worlds? Someone who ruined someone's life or broke up a family gets to live in peace? And our tax payer money gets to give them this luxury? Why do they get to live happily while these people are miserable? We know the victims go through depression, anxiety, stress, a lot commit suicide.

At what point do you put justice over mercy?

If we painlessly remove them from the world we can all live knowing there is no chance of them getting out and re-offending again.

If there is some part of my argument, please address it separately in the same post and I will adhere and apply anything you specifically dislike or don't want in our debate. Thanks.


This is my argument, I will now pass it over to Con.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent. This round is for constructive arguments only, so let's get into this.

Before I begin my arguments, I want to say to the gentle reader that it is more important to have a governmental or societal impact when you are having a change of policy. If society is impacted negatively as a whole (or the government), this should outweigh any individual harms (one person getting mad over it, for instance). This is not to say, however, that morals are not important in a debate of this type because the job of the government is to uphold morals and to protect the people.

C1. Non-efficient cost.

A. General burden.
According to a study done by Loyola Law School [1], the state of California has spent over $4 billion on the death penalty since it was resumed in 1978, which equates to over $300 million for each of the 13 executions that were carried out in the last 37 years. While this may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but in 2010 the state of California had a debt that rang to the tune of nearly $800 billion [2]. This is money that is uselessly spent on state executions that could be spent on relieving the debt crisis that the state is currently in, and allow for a higher quality of life for the people of California.
And this is not only specific to the state of California, either.

Since 1997, the state of Washington spent $120 million on 5 prisoners, equating to a $24 million court system cost per person, while the state currently has a debt of just under $80 billion [3][4].

The state of Maryland spent $186 million over five executions, meaning that each execution cost taxpayers $37.2 million each [3]. The state of Maryland also has a state debt of over $94 billion [5].

I could go on and on, but I decide to stop here. What I am trying to get at is that all of these funds that are going towards the death penalty are not necessary; instead they could go to improving the financial crisis that each of these states have. They could go to improving the quality of life of all of their residents instead of killing people without a just cause. The job of the government is to protect people and to ensure the maximum amount of rights that are necessary, not to decrease the quality or quantity of life of its inhabitants.

B. Less efficient than life in prison.
I could not find any statistics about a nation-wide average for the cost of life in prison without parole, so I will be using California as my basis. If my opponent asks I can delve deeper into the web to find nation-wide averages, but I believe that California is a fine example place to base this argument on.

According to statistics that have been offered by the Office of California's Nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, the average annual price for housing an inmate in a jail is over $47,000, while the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation finds that the average cost is just over $44,500 [6]. Whatever the actual number may be, which should logically be thought to be roughly $45,000, is lower than a death penalty process.

If we assume that the average life-in-prison prisoner gets placed in there around age 20 and live to be around age 70, we see a time gap of 50 years. Using basic arithmetic (45,000 x 50), we get a grand total of around $2 million. When we compare this to the average cost of an execution in the state of California, which was stated earlier at a whopping $300 million, the disparity of these two numbers is absurd. The amount for a life-in-prison prisoner is less than 1% the cost of a death row inmate, which as a government cannot be condoned.

C2. Morality.

A. Innocent death.
Innocence is not committing a crime that you are accused of, and in a society that holds onto justice such as the USA, if you have not committed a crime you are not expected to pay the dues of this crime.

However, as the Guardian explains in an article released on 28 April, 2014, the amount of innocent people that have been posthumously declared as innocent is at 4% [7]. "At least 4.1% of all defendants sentenced to death in the US in the modern era are innocent", they explain.

In a just society, we should not be putting the innocent to death. Having any innocent deaths is atrocious and undermines the values of justice -- which according to Kant is a respect for the right (or innocent, in this case) [8]. Posthumously announcing that one is innocent does not give them the respect that they deserve, instead it declares that the system was wrong and that the system is not based upon justice, instead retribution.

C3. Personal harms.

A. Families touched by murder denounce the death penalty.
It has been shown time and time again that families that have been touched by a person that may receive the death penalty do not actively or usually seek it when seeking justice for their loved ones.

If we look back to the Boston Marathon Bombing that occurred two years ago (April 15, 2013), then we can remember that this was a day that was filled with both terror and death. However, the parents of the youngest victim taken by the bombing do not want the death penalty to even be considered when Tsarnaev is convicted. They say in a letter to the Boston Globe, "[w]e are in favor of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal." What this means is that the family of someone who was taken by an act of terror do not want to see the killer die for his actions, just rot in prison [9].

Another good example of a personal harm created by the death penalty would be the case of Julie Welch, who was taken in an Oklahoma bombing. The family of Julie didn't seek the death penalty at all, and they said that executing people for crimes "is simply vengeance; and it was vengeance that killed Julie.... Vengeance is a strong and natural emotion. But it has no place in our justice system." This means that another bombing victim's family doesn't want vengeance to be part of the justice system, but instead for justice to actually be sought [8].

If the family of a victim does not want to suffer more pain due to the death of a criminal, then why are we allowing them to? We are not truly honoring the victim's family or the victim themselves when we do these actions, and this is not morally permissible by the government.

C4. Bipartisan Approval

A. Example from Nebraska
Nebraska was the last state to ban the death penalty outright, and they did so just 11 days ago [10][11]. While the senate is officially and legally nonpartisan (no parties allowed, per state law), the majority of the senate leans to more conservative values. The lawmakers two weeks ago agreed that the death penalty is ineffective, costly, immoral and harms everyone involved. This was the first republican-leaning state in over 40 years to outlaw the death penalty [12].

When the bill passed into law, Ernie Chambers, a representative in the Nebraska Unicameral who has been fighting against the death penalty since he came into office in 1971 (and is also my profile picture) said, "[t]oday we are doing something that transcends me, that transcends this Legislature, that transcends this state. We are talking [and acting upon] human dignity."

If a republican state can agree that the death penalty is impractical and does not lead to a better society, then I think that we can step across party lines and act on what really matters - banning the death penalty.


With very few characters, I give it back to you, pro.


I thank my opponent for the intense rebuttal to a lot of my statements, it wouldn't be a debate if it was one sided. I have had a lot of work on and only just got the opportunity to sit down, think and say why the death penalty should exist.
I have already covered that I personally believe that if the criminal (assuming has been confirmed guilty of the charges at hand) follows the list of criteria I said... refuses psychological help, can find loop holes and avoid the castration of society, has no remorse or is a psychopath, highly suspected to re-offend, causes more crimes within the prison, has not received justice / retribution for the atrocity he or she has committed and the sentence is appalling and in no way justifies the actions. At this point I would advocate the death penalty. I have no doubt that people have been wrongfully accused and fell through the cracks of the prison system, never to see the light of day again.
To be honest, I am not a fan of how the prison system is run, I have been on a jury and was the soul reason two men didn't get imprisoned for something that could not be proven with out a reasonable doubt.
Realising that two men nearly got a minimum of five years in prison, I had this feeling of nausea, my body was shaking and I began to sweat. In no way could I live with my self if people are imprisoned wrongfully.

In saying that, in no way could I live with my self knowing someone did an atrocious act like harming a child or taking away a woman's confidence and security, just to be released and reoffend. The prison system simply locks people up and expects them to have the meaning of life revealed to them; apparently, an extended time out will allow them to meditate on problems and grow from it... not grow bitter and hateful, resentful and lose touch with reality and freedom.

However, it gets to a stage where you have to ask your self, can this person get help? Is it possible for change? How many cases of re-offenses do we have to see before we change something? There is an estimated 35-54% [2] on AVERAGE that a sexual predator will reoffend, it varies in areas and can go as high as 80% [3](study in Canada suggests). I am not going to debate whether or not it's the prisons fault that the criminal has reoffended, at the end of the day. The criminal used free will to commit an act to completely change the course of someone's life for the worst.
I would also like to say that I am only deeply convicted that a person should receive the death penalty if they have committed a crime that has intentionally damaged a persons life, for example, Murderer, Rapist, Child Abuser etc.

As for the cost, I do not doubt that the price is stupendous, we can pay less than a dollar for a bullet, and it's arguably more ethical and moral to put a bag over someone's head, mark the body part that will be the quickest to inflict death if removed or ruptured etc, and shoot them at point blank range. However we put them under a general anaesthetic, and use muscle relaxes and the poison at the end to stop the hard and induce death.[4]
Other methods were to electrocute and in ancient times, depending on location, either cutting off the head by use of a sword of guillotine or put into an arena with gladiators or large animals.

The reason executions are so expensive isn't because of the chemicals used, although they have been increased in price, the big reason why everything is so expensive is due to court issues, they have to be continuously dragged through court to check numerous times if the person is actually guilty, and understandably so; but it appears that the reason for the excuse not to execute as being it being such an expense is almost a cop out, it's not the fault of the executioner or the prison. It's the fault of the justice system and the over priced cases in court.

The problems we face isn't a direct result of the prison, the prison just gets the bad side of the deal due to it doing what ever the result of the law is. Unfortunately to execute someone, it costs so much money simply because, unless assured without doubt, the person could be innocent and they have to be tried for it.
My issue doesn't lie with any of these areas, my entire argument is, I don't want these reoffending criminals back into society when they have already shown once that they are not to be trusted. Why should we give them a second chance?

I would trust a list of professionals all vouching for the validity and authenticity of a criminal that has turned their ways, however I couldn't completely trust them, and rightfully so, at the end of the day, there is a serious reason as to why someone would have committed such an act.
A child abuser or a rapist doesn't just do that crime, there is something wrong at home, at work, their friends group, the people who speak into their lives. There is something wrong with direction in life and motive, with intention and position. A healthy, confident, positive and driven person doesn't just abuse people, unless they have a mental condition.

After all of this is done, whether they are put to death or not, I want a better society, I want a place where kids can go outside and feel safe, and be safe. I want an area where a woman can walk down the street wearing what ever she feels she should wear and be comfortable and confident that people will respect that she is a human being with rights, that she deserves to be treated with respect. And that she is going to be safe, I am a feminist by definition for the pursuit of equal rights and I am devastated when I see women completely thrown out of the window when it comes to respect in society.
People respect women because women are human, it's a sad thing that a position determines how much respect a women gets while a man automatically gets the view of, strong, courageous, masculine, confident, leader, etc.
A lot of the time, when a child abuser or rapist strikes, it's not because it's 'JUST' a child or 'JUST' an isolated victim, it's because of the innocence of the situation, the criminal feels empowered and dominant.

In conclusion, I see the prison being blamed for the prices of matters where they have no say or authority. I see criminals not getting what they deserve, getting back into society only to reoffend and ruin more peoples lives. I see our legal system failing us and as a result, we blame the prison because that's the only thing most of us actually get to see.
I see the rehabilitation failing us too, why are we not doing any more surgeries to remove genitalia from rapists and child molesters? Why are we not drugging up psychopaths or showing people with a bad past that their past is just that. Why is our entire method of helping this sad one way street to 'they might be better'.
Why can't we be safe any more?
I wouldn't be an advocate of the death penalty if we didn't have better methods. The Greeks would cut the hands and genitalia off of child abusers and rapists, why is that out of the question?
We need more appropriate methods to deal with this issue.
Clearly more scientific data is needed for the rehabilitation side. However our first priority should be society.

I have a lot more to say, however I will leave the rest of this part over to Pro.

References: [1] [2] [3] [4]
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you, my friend. In this round, I will provide rebuttals to your R1 case. Let's get into this!

Criteria for Death Penalty
That is an interesting list that you have compiled, and I like your thinking. However, this isn't what is currently in place as the death penalty and is essentially unrelated to this debate. What I mean by this is that you are holding up your side of the status quo, not changing it.

The most popular punishment for states without the death penalty that want an intense penalty would be life in prison without any possibility of parole. Under this method, nobody can possibly find loop-holes to eventually get back into normal society because under law they cannot ever enter it. This would mean that the death penalty isn't necessary because it can be addressed by life in prison.

Also, the idea of executing people that refuse psychological help is immoral at its core and is currently illegal. The insane (or mentally ill) cannot be executed, for it is unconstitutional [1].

The criteria that you mentioned are not really objective enough for law, nor are they even constitutional, so we cannot weigh these.

Compliance with Law
I agree that we all, whether we know it or not, sign up for laws to be applied to us and that we must comply with the law or face punishment. And I wholeheartedly agree that murder, rape, abuse are all terrible terrible crimes that should never be allowed in any type of society.

However, the crux of your argument is that criminals get to live a good life if they are able to live, and they are able to re-commit crimes.

I would think that anyone reading this argument would agree that prison is not a good place in the US. There is a lot of rape [2], there is almost slavery for prisoners [3], and that it is entirely undesirable [no citation needed]. By saying that these prisoners are able to live a happy life with luxury is a very big exaggeration.

Part of your argument is that prisoners will be able to recommit offenses that they got in for. However, the alternative to the death penalty is life in prison without possibility of parole, which is the legal way of saying "no givesies backsies", in which the prisoner can never enter society. If we don't allow them to go back into society and cause even more harm, we are increasing the value of society as a whole, and that is a great thing. The death penalty is not the only way to keep them from recommitting, and from the harms of the death penalty as I stated above, we simply cannot allow it.



I am sorry for a shorter round, I hand it back to pro.


I will be making a follow up argument and hopefully correcting any misinformed or wrongfully written statements.
I will also be removing the citation numbers on your passages when I cite your work, since we are using the same referencing method. (I want to remove confusion)

"The most popular punishment for states without the death penalty that want an intense penalty would be life in prison without any possibility of parole."
I agree it is, however, many criminals simply are not getting this time, prisons are becoming over populated because of bad laws like minor drug offenses being labelled with hefty time in prison, gang related crimes and theft [3]

"Also, the idea of executing people that refuse psychological help is immoral at its core and is currently illegal. The insane (or mentally ill) cannot be executed, for it is unconstitutional."

It is and I apologise for the way my description ended, it was not meant to be taken that way, after re-reading it I see how that perspective could be met; I meant as in, if a criminal that has murdered, raped or abused someone refuses psychological help and they are being released, (because of our TERRIBLE justice system) why shouldn't they be put up for the death penalty?
I don't mean to swing the accusation stick around, but what do you think should happen to criminals that just don't get these hefty charges due to race, location or pay rate?[1]

Morals / Ethics:
I would suggest that ending someone's life peacefully is a better alternative to making them psychologically disabled and unable to cope in the real world if ever released after an extended period of time. I personally know two people that were in prison for only 3 years for assault, they are not the same. something in them is broken. They wake up screaming and run at the site of their name. 10+ years would destroy a person.
However, giving them luxury does not fit the justice required. So we are in a period of displacement, do we... treat them well in an isolated environment even though it is only preventing them from doing crimes and not teaching them a lesson... it's not justice, do what is just and damage them entirely psychologically, do we end their life peacefully.
Basically, are we preparing them for life in the real world, or are we enforcing and breaking them until they die? If they go back into society, damaging them is only going to lead them back to a lifestyle they were comfortable with.

There is currently a serious problem of overpopulation within the prisons, leading to a lack of safety for security and a risk of rioting, and possibly, a mass escape.[2]

"By saying that these prisoners are able to live a happy life with luxury is a very big exaggeration."
'A prison officer who has worked at Cardiff for 15 years said last week that inmates were simply sitting in their cells watching snooker on television or playing computer games.' [4]

'The death penalty is not the only way to keep them from recommitting, and from the harms of the death penalty as I stated above, we simply cannot allow it.'
Prison sentences and the death penalty does not deter crime rates[5].

The death penalty is a viable option for people who are at risk to other people, and security guards. I am not disputing that life in prison would sound better than the death penalty... if they couldn't find loop holes, but there are crafty lawyers out there.[6]

I apologise if my argument seems over the place, it's very late and I am very tired.
I will construct my stance more accurately in the next round.

In summary so far:
The death penalty appears to be a viable option, the price isn't the prisons fault, nor is it the expense of the poisons used, but the court cases that take place, regardless of being on death row or not. The court cases cost the government A LOT of money anyway. I have given evidence suggesting my claims were in deed accurate. prisons are becoming over populated, prisoners are either getting no punishment or complete punishment. There is no balance. This doesn't mean the death penalty is a viable option, however for prisoners getting released, being broken or being the same is not going to help rehabilitate society.
The death penalty should be in place for people we can't have in society anymore. I have shown evidence of cases where people do use loop holes eventually. The death penalty is a useful tool.

References: [1] [2] [3] [4][5][6]
Debate Round No. 3


I didn't expect to have to do this, but something in my life has come up. I am going to have to forfeit this round, so I ask the voters to assign my opponent the conduct point. This is not a concession so it should not be voted on as one, I simply must forfeit this round.

Thank you, Kryptic, for a thought provoking debate. We should have another when I am able to complete!


due to this complication, I ask voters to simply standby for now. unless they believe one of our arguments up until this point is irrefutable. thankyou
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Kryptic 3 years ago
I should have stated the terms better, when someone is being released and has not received psychological help, I do not advocate they be released. some people can fake it too.
Posted by Kryptic 3 years ago
all good :)
Posted by Lexus 3 years ago
Whoops, accidently added [1] to the bottom of my argument, ignore that
Posted by Lexus 3 years ago
It's all good, Kryptic. :) If anything is out of place I will address it next round, thanks!
Posted by Kryptic 3 years ago
i wrote... 'If there is some part of my argument, please address it separately in the same post and I will adhere and apply anything you specifically dislike or don't want in our debate. Thanks'
I was tired. I mean to say.

"If there is some part of my argument that does not comply with rules and regulations, please address it separately in the same post and I will adhere and apply with anything you specifically dislike or don't want in our debate. Thanks.
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