The Instigator
DylanFromSC
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Kinesis
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

The modern death penalty is beneficial to the economy of the United States.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Kinesis
Started: 2/17/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,822 times Debate No: 11215
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (5)

 

DylanFromSC

Pro

The modern death penalty is beneficial to the economy of the United States

First, I would like to provide definitions concerning the matter.

Modern death penalty - Death by lethal injection.

Lethal injection - the act or instance of injecting a drug for purposes of capital punishment or euthanasia. [1]

Beneficial - conferring benefit; advantageous; helpful. [2]

Economy - an act or means of thrifty saving; a saving. [3]

Second, since I have the burden of proof, here are a few facts:
*These are not all of the facts. I only mention a few so I can bring up the rest later.

- The cost of the total lethal injection process is about $86.08. [4]
- Unnecessary costs are bad for the economy.
- The cost of housing an inmate in prison per year is about $47,000. [5]

[1] - http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] - http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3] - http://dictionary.reference.com...
[4] - http://www.prodeathpenalty.com...
[5] - http://www.lao.ca.gov...

I would like to thank whoever accepts this debate; hopefully we will have a great debate.
Kinesis

Con

========
Introduction
========

Thanks to Con for bringing this highly controversial topic to light. Although I am of the opinion that the proposed topic should have a relatively minor role in the debate over whether the death penalty should be allowed, it is still an important one that needs to be addressed.

At first glance, Pro's case seems obvious. After all, quickly cutting off somebody's life instead of spending money on food, clothing and incarceration for their entire lives should obviously be cheaper. Pro has already brought this point to light by presenting statistics which show that lethal injection is much cheaper than housing an inmate, even for only a year. However, there are a number of hugely important costs he has not considered; costs that tip the cost of executing our criminals as greater than the cost of incarcerating them; much greater, in fact.

====
Case
====

Death penalty cases are much more expensive than ordinary murder cases; this is because of complex pre-trial motions, lengthy jury selections and expenses for expert witnesses. In addition, courts tend to follow heightened due process because of the irreversibility of the death penalty, drawing out the trial. After conviction, prosecution and defense costs must be paid for the constitutionally mandated appeals.

In Kansas, a legislative audit found that the average cost of a death penalty case when compared to a similar non-death penalty case was 70 percent more. [1]; in Maryland, the figure is three times more [2].

In addition, the majority of costs are still incurred regardless of the outcome. The true cost of the death penalty includes the costs not only of those trials which successfully execute the criminal in question, but those who are spared as-well. Also importantly, if the defendant is convicted but not given the death penalty, the cost of life imprisonment must be paid on top of the trial expenses.

So, what is the comparison here? What is the comparison of life-imprisonment to capital punishment, and how does it affect the economy? Well, a report by the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice estimated these figures:

1. The cost of the present death penalty system is $137 million per year.
2. The cost of a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead of the death penalty would be $11.5 million per year [3]

The resolution is negated.

[1] http://www.kslegislature.org...
[2] http://www.urban.org...
[3] http://www.ccfaj.org...
Debate Round No. 1
DylanFromSC

Pro

First, I would like to thank the con for accepting this debate.

Second, the sources provided are somewhat long. I read for a bit, and decided that the con should provide page numbers relevant to the argument imposed. Or you could find facts that aren't .org/pdf documents? I don't know what that's all about. Anyways. I will not respond to the arguments yet, considering I have no proof.

Third, here is my main case against the idea as a whole that, the death penalty costs more than lifetime incarceration.
- There are WAY less death penalty cases than murder cases.
- Lifetime imprisonment almost guarantees SOME type of disease.
- Treatments/therapy for these diseases/problems are usually VERY costly.

* "The rate of HIV among prisoners is 5 to 7 times that of the general population. HIV rates are highest among African American prisoners." [1]

** People being imprisoned often bring in new diseases: "about 25% of HIV-infected Americans", "33% of those infected with hepatitis C virus", "40% of Americans with active tuberculosis" [1]

*** "Among these inmates, up to 50% have mental disorders. As many as 75% have alcohol or other substance abuse disorders." [1]

[1] - http://www.thebody.com...
Kinesis

Con

Thanks to Pro for his response.

=====
Sources
=====

I would like to apologise for not providing the page numbers for the linked sources; I fully intended to, but for some reason it slipped my mind. For ease, the sources are summed up here: [1] and further sources to corroborate the general claims made are here: [2]. The page numbers, in order of sources presented, are page 10, page 12 and page 2 (bottom of page). If you can't find them, use keywords such as '$137 million'.

======
Pro Case
======

'There have been way less death penalty cases than other murder cases'

--> I have no idea what you intend to prove by this. Of course it is true, but it has little to no impact on the resolution itself; the resolution is not 'the modern death penalty isn't so bad because it isn't used that often' the resolution states that the death penalty is BENEFICIAL to the economy. With this in mind, Pro must demonstrate that it is more expensive to incarcerate a prisoner for life than to execute him, along with the enormous legal fees which stem from such an act.

'Lifetime imprisonment almost guarantees SOME type of disease.
Treatments/therapy for these diseases/problems are usually VERY costly'

--> Unfortunately, Pro has left very little to contend at this point. The sole link he provides gives NO account at all even of how much the treatments cost; never-mind how much that affects the overall cost of incarcerating prisoners. He just gives some vague claim about the treatments being 'VERY expensive'. Well; how expensive, may I ask? And more importantly, how does this affect the overall claim that it is more economical to execute prisoners rather than incarcerate them? Until Pro answers these questions, he doesn't have a case.

=======
conclusion
=======

Pro has provided no compelling reason to think that the modern death penalty is beneficial to the economy of the United States. He has at best provided some reasoning behind the claim that incarcerating a prisoner is expensive, but at the moment that claim in wholly inadequate. Even without my negative case (which stands unrefuted), Pro has yet to affirm the resolution.

[1] http://www.amnestyusa.org...
[2] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
Debate Round No. 2
DylanFromSC

Pro

I would like to thank the Con for his patience. I was out for a while. I don't really remember much of what was said, so I'll just look at the Con's response, and post my arguments based on that.

" 'There have been way less death penalty cases than other murder cases'
--> I have no idea what you intend to prove by this."

I think what I intended to prove here was that the cost of death penalty CASES is irrelevant, considering that there are CONSIDERABLY less; however, mainly because with the death penalty actually being enforced, the amount of murder cases will decrease.

Ex: If you steal money from your mom every day and she does nothing about it, you will continue to steal the money. Period. HOWEVER, if you stole money from your mom every day and she put a mousetrap in her purse, and you saw her set the mouse trap, you would NOT put your hand in her purse.

"--> Unfortunately, Pro has left very little to contend at this point. The sole link he provides gives NO account at all even of how much the treatments cost; never-mind how much that affects the overall cost of incarcerating prisoners."

UNFORTUNATELY, I DID tell how the diseases affect the overall cost of incarcerating prisoners. If you have a disease, you need treatments. You can't say that I actually said that "Treatments/therapy for these diseases/problems are usually VERY costly" and I didn't tell how they would affect the overall cost. On the other hand, I didn't give a specific number because there is no "universal treatment" for every single disease. Every disease requires a different treatment. I can't list the prices of every disease or problem in this world. That's too broad. Even with chemotherapy and blood transfusions, every person may not require the same amount of visits/transfusions/etc..

*NEW POINTS

*Prisoner escapes or parole give the convict another chance to kill. When a prisoner escapes or is given parole, the statistics say that he or she will end up back in jail at LEAST 50% of the time.[1]

*The modern death penalty gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system.[2]

*If there was no death penalty, the prisons would become overpopulated. When they are so crowded, especially with murder convicts, people are more likely to:
1. Catch a disease, which obviously costs money depending on the disease.
2. Get raped and contract some form of STD, which aren't free to cure. They may not be EXPENSIVE, but with the overpopulation problem, many people will contract an STD. It adds up.
3. Die, especially when other inmates are among killers; funeral costs, etc.
4. It gives closure to angered families; angered families are no longer "productive" members of society, but only because they will USUALLY do ANYTHING to get justice (Kill especially) <---More funeral costs, more court fees, etc.

[1] - I used ChaCha. You can text them to verify. Here is exactly what the text said, "About 50% of convicted felons return back to prison after they are released. Call me Claus and ChaCha anytime! *Compatibility Qs? Txt CHACHA4 to 42442 (Feb 20, 8:55 pm)
[2] - http://www.balancedpolitics.org...

I would like to thank all of the readers and the Con for this debate. I strongly urge that you vote based upon EVERY round, and not just the first, second, or third round independently. VOTE PRO.
Kinesis

Con

Thank you Dylan for this great debate. My last round shall be devoted to refuting his remaining points, since I think the statistics provided in the last two rounds speak for themselves.

==========
Pro's final case
==========

'I think what I intended to prove here was that the cost of death penalty CASES is irrelevant, considering that there are CONSIDERABLY less'

--> Apart from being false (as already shown, the death penalty costs an exorbitant amount), this objection, like in the last round, completely misses the point. It isn't Pro's burden to demonstrate that the death penalty is only a minor drain on the public wallet: it's his burden to demonstrate that it's BENEFICIAL to the economy.

'mainly because with the death penalty actually being enforced, the amount of murder cases will decrease'

--> Pro decides to barely assert a highly controversial argument in the last round; given that, I don't feel particularly compelled to respond. However, since some people might hold it against me: [1], [2]. 88% of criminologists
do not think the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime. Many studies have demonstrated that murderers simply do not weigh the costs and benefits of their actions.

'UNFORTUNATELY, I DID tell how the diseases affect the overall cost of incarcerating prisoners'

--> At the moment, without any figures to back it up, this stands as a very weak argument in favour of the cost of life imprisonment. I would even say that it should be completely dismissed in the face of overwhelming evidence presented that life imprisonment is cheaper than the death penalty. This is nowhere near enough to affirm the resolution, and it falls flat in face of the actual facts.

'NEW POINTS'

--> Uh, not sure you can actually do that in the last round, but whatever...

'Prisoner escapes or parole give the convict another chance to kill. When a prisoner escapes or is given parole, the statistics say that he or she will end up back in jail at LEAST 50% of the time'

--> I'm a little dubious of Pro's source (having never used 'ChaCha' before), but let's accept it. What does it have to do with the resolution? This is an argument in favour of the general claim that the death penalty should be allowed, but not in favour of the argument that it specifically favours the economy.

'The modern death penalty gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system'

--> First let me note that Pro's source says the following: 'Financial costs to taxpayers of capital punishment is several times that of keeping someone in prison for life'. I don't hold that against my opponent, but I'd like to add it as a source in my favour [3]. I can accept the point, while still maintaining that it has little impact on the resolution as a whole - regardless, life imprisonment is still cheaper overall.

'If there was no death penalty, the prisons would become overpopulated. When they are so crowded, especially with murder convicts, people are more likely to:'

--> and then Pro lists a load of 'facts'. None of which are sourced, none of which give any specific indication of how much they cost, none of which carry any weight in the debate at ALL. I'm going to do something I don't want to, and ignore the lot; I simply don't feel any compulsion to respond - they're worthless to the Pro side of this debate. I've already provided sources which demonstrate that the resolution is false and Pro has not contested any of them: the resolution is negated. Vote Con.

[1] http://deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[2] http://www.physorg.com...
[3] http://www.balancedpolitics.org...
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ZT 4 years ago
ZT
The French came up with a much better way. If they could do it, we can.
Posted by theorusso 4 years ago
theorusso
It tends to take DECADES to bring someone to their death, and the drugs are expensive. Also there will be no doctors injecting the drugs, because that is not only hypocritical to kill killers, but against the hippocratic oath they take when they become a doctor saying they will do whatever they can to save lives. This means that like all other execution methods, the possibility of a perfect, torture-free death is not that high. Just because something may be considered beneficial does not mean that it really is. China even banned the death penalty between the years of 747 and 759. That's a country American citizens often view as not as advanced as us, and yet they abolished it.
Posted by mattrodstrom 4 years ago
mattrodstrom
Argh! $47,000 a year!

Though one wants proper justice handed out, you've got to also long for the days when convicted murderers were hung by the end of the week.
Posted by DylanFromSC 4 years ago
DylanFromSC
Good idea. I will. Oh well. One person voted honestly I suppose.
Posted by ZT 4 years ago
ZT
The plea-bargaining argument is potentially a good one, but pro never showed how many fewer cases would be bargained without the penalty.
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
Hmm...I wouldn't be annoyed if you blocked out his vote with your own, Dylan. Obvious vote-bomber. :/
Posted by lliwill 4 years ago
lliwill
well, wouldn't extra spending help stimulate the economy more?
Posted by DylanFromSC 4 years ago
DylanFromSC
Well I don't think I did the best job either, honestly.. I could've done better. If I would've had more time (I've been busy) I think I could've done much better. Cause in the time I wasn't replying, I wasn't even looking at the debate.
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
Well for a start, considering your emphasis on the small number of capital punishment cases, I doubt they would have had much of an effect at all. But more importantly - you never gave any indication of how much any of these things would cost. For all I know, they're all minuscule in comparison to the legal fees incurred from capital cases.

You can point out loads of expenses incurred by life imprisonment, but that isn't the point- the debate is over whether the death penalty is BETTER, and I don't think you demonstrated that at all.
Posted by DylanFromSC 4 years ago
DylanFromSC
This is probably the worst debate I've done so far.. I didn't really have all that much time to research. And in the last round, you said I listed a bunch of facts (1 - 4) that weren't sourced. They were facts that didn't really need to be sourced. Like when I mentioned that you have a higher chance of being murdered in prison while you're amongst murders. Obviously.
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