The Instigator
subhapriya
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
missbailey8
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points

capital punishment should be banned

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 849 times Debate No: 89149
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

subhapriya

Con

This is my first debate and I hope to learn a lot from my opponent.I would like to argue against the topic that capital punishment should be abolished from our society.
missbailey8

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
subhapriya

Con

Thank you for accepting my topic of debate.

I would like to start this argument by giving four points supporting my motion

My first argument is based on the grounds of morality.

Death penalty is often the only viable option that can be given to a criminal who has not only killed somebody but affected the entire family of the victim. But one might argue that since state cannot give life it has no right to take it. Here I will give the example of the verdict of the Supreme court of my country India regarding the rape of a fourteen year old girl who had appealed to the high court for abortion but was turned down, but Supreme court allowed her to go for it. By the above definition of mortality it is immoral to kill a twenty five week fetus. But why did Sc judges allow it? It is because they didn't want the girl to go through the trauma of being the mother of a child at such a young age. We all agree that it was not inhuman to kill the fetus after twenty five weeks because it was suitable in the given circumstances. In the same way, sometimes it is suitable for the state to give death penalty to those criminals who are beyond rectification.

My second argument is based on the grounds of proper judgement

Capital punishment is not given abruptly to a person who is just suspected of committing a crime. It is a long process and each case of death penalty comes before the court at least three times and a death row usually lasts averagely for ten years. So it is well planned and is done after a lot of screening. The percentage of making mistakes in this lengthy process is very low.

My third argument is based on capital punishment as a deterrent

When death penalty is given to one horrendous criminal then the “would be criminals” will think twice before committing murder. And if the fear of death cannot deter a man , then what else can? So in a way capital punishment prevents future crimes. In 1973 Isaac Ehrlich employed a new kind of analysis which produced results showing that for every inmate who was executed seven lives were spared because others were deterred from committing murder.

my fourth argument is based on death penalty as the kindest form of punishment

If something has to be changed then it is the way capital punishment is given to an individual. We should try to make death as quicker and less painful as possible for a criminal. So my third point is that death penalty is often the kindest form of punishment which can be given to a person. A dreaded criminal who is given a death sentence is often not given the right to vote. He is not even considered as the citizen of the country. So what is the use of keeping him alive and draining the exchequer of government on him. Is it not more inhuman to confined him within the cell of a prison for his entire life, torturing him and making him ill both mentally and physically?

I return this debate to my opponent
missbailey8

Pro

Thank you for your opening statements. Here are my reasons to go against the death penalty.

1) Cost
2) Innocent or Guilty?
3) Racial Bias
4) Deterrence

Which further ado, here's my argument.

Cost
In Kansas, the cost is a staggering 70% more in cost for a death penalty case than for a non-death penalty case. Also In Kansas, the median of death penalty cases if around $1.26 million while a non-death penalty case has a median cost of $740,000. [1] If the example of Kansas wasn't enough, here are three more steep prices in three other states:

Tennessee- Death penalty cases = 48% more in cost [2]
Maryland- Death penalty = $3 million for a single case (three times more than other cases) [3]
California-" ...the current sytem costs $137 million per year; it would cost $11.5 million for a system without the death penalty." [4]

The death penalty requires more in cost because of lawyers, higher judges, multiple trials, housing, etc. And even while less than 1,300 prisoners have been executed in the U.S, [5] over 3,000 are still on death row. [6] Why waste so much money on one prisoner? Why not give a life sentence? This proves that it's cheaper, so why not apply it to these death row inmates?

Innocent or Guilty?
Currently, there are 130 inmates released from death row because of they were proven innocent. [7] Even though they, most likely, lacked sufficient evidence at the time, they were set to be executed. Imagine what would happen if they were killed. And say they were proven innocent, but only after death. You can't bring someone back from the dead, but if they're on a life- or lesser- sentence, they can be released.

Racial Bias
"In a 1990 report, the non-partisan U.S. General Accounting Office found 'a pattern of evidence indicating racial disparities in the charging, sentencing, and imposition of the death penalty.' The study concluded that a defendant was several times more likely to be sentenced to death if the murder victim was white. This has been confirmed by the findings of many other studies that, holding all other factors constant, the single most reliable predictor of whether someone will be sentenced to death is the race of the victim" [8]

Similar studies also found that in Philadelphia 1/3 of African African death row inmates would actually be sentenced to life in prison if they were white. [9] Another study by the University of Maryland said that it was more likely that the prisoner would receive a death sentence of the victim was white rather than black, Hispanic, Asian, or other. [10] So, in other words, if the victim was white than the prisoner would be treated with harsher punishment rather than if the victim was a minority.

Deterrence
Not only have few studies shown that capital punishment doesn't deter murder, states without the death penalty actually have lower murder rates. [11] In fact, studies show that the percentage difference can differ between 4%-46% per year. The study also states that police officers and children specifically are in more danger in the south, where the most executions occur. [12]

In conclusion, the death penalty shouldn't be used as a higher form of punishment. The government should be using life sentences more for death row inmates, as it has less factors than the death penalty, which does more harm than good. Thank you and good bye.

Citations
[1, 2]http://www.amnestyusa.org...
[3]http://www.urban.org...
[4]http://www.ccfaj.org...
[5]http://www.theguardian.com...
[6]http://www.crimemuseum.org...
[7]http://www.statisticbrain.com...
[8, 9, 10]http://www.amnestyusa.org...
[11]http://deathpenalty.org...
[12]http://www.deathpenalty.org...
Debate Round No. 2
subhapriya

Con

I appreciate your argument and after some research here are some of my points .

1) Cost - My worthy opponent has mentioned it is more cost effective to give life imprisonment than death penalty . But consider the following example

"Both Central government of India and Maharashtra governments have spent around Rs. 29.5 crores on Ajmal Kasab to provide him food, security, medicines and clothes during his confinement in Arthur Road Central prison in Mumbai, official sources said on Wednesday.


Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) deployed around 250 guards for Kasab in the prison since his arrest in November 2008 till October 2012 and expenditure on this count worked out to Rs. 26 crore, sources said.


Maharashtra government spent around Rs. 3.47 crores on Kasab including food (Rs. 42,313), security (Rs. 1, 46,81,794), medicines (Rs. 39,829) and clothes (Rs. 1,878).


The state government also incurred an expenditure of Rs. 2 crores on building a bullet and bomb proof cell especially for Kasab in the Central Prison at Arthur Road.


The cell was connected to the specially made court (also bomb and bullet proof) by a tunnel which was fortified with iron walls and ceiling to ward off any terrorist strike with bombs."


At first it was decided that this terrorist would not be given death penalty. But due to so much of expenditure on him , the court finally gave orders for his execution. So one can imagine that how much capital would have been wasted on this one man if he was given life imprisonment.


If criminals like Kasab are allowed to stay in jail with others then he would have also caused harm to other inmates. So one should first think about the security of the people( although they are prisoners) before thinking about the cost.


2) Innocent or guilty-


Capital punishment is not given abruptly to a person who is just suspected of committing a crime. It is a long process and each case of death penalty comes before the court at least three times and a death row usually lasts averagely for ten years. So it is well planned and is done after a lot of screening. The percentage of making mistakes in this lengthy process is very low. While giving exams we do have a fear of making mistakes but we still give our examinations right?

Similarly only due to the fear of making mistakes in judgement one cannot not just do away with the whole system.

3) Racial bias- well this is a thing which had never crossed my mind while writing this debate. The country in which I live in doesn't have this problem . But yes, there is a distinction between rich and poor as richer people can always hire better lawyers, but the judgement of our supreme court is accepted by everybody as final. The Supreme court of our country is an independent body which is not at all under the influence of the president. But as this problem is prevalent in American and European countries I would like to say that death penalty is like a knife. You can use it to either cut vegetables or kill people. It really depends on your hand. Racial bias doesn't only affect the judgements of death penalty but everything.

So one needs to get rid of racial bias not death penalty

4) Deterrence- Some examples that capital punishment does work well as a deterrent.


1: In 1973 Isaac Ehrlich employed a new kind of analysis which produced results showing that for every inmate who was executed, 7 lives were spared because others were deterred from committing murder. Similar results have been produced by disciples of Ehrlich in follow-up studies


2: Ernest van den Haag, a Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University who has studied the question of deterrence closely, wrote: "Even though statistical demonstrations are not conclusive, and perhaps cannot be, capital punishment is likely to deter more than other punishments because people fear death more than anything else. They fear most death deliberately inflicted by law and scheduled by the courts. Whatever people fear most is likely to deter most. Hence, the threat of the death penalty may deter some murderers who otherwise might not have been deterred. And surely the death penalty is the only penalty that could deter prisoners already serving a life sentence and tempted to kill a guard, or offenders about to be arrested and facing a life sentence. Perhaps they will not be deterred. But they would certainly not be deterred by anything else. We owe all the protection we can give to law enforcers exposed to special risks."


3:A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides. "


4: Each execution deters an average of 18 murders, according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University. (Other studies have estimated the deterred murders per execution at three, five and 14).


5: For every 2.75 years cut from time spent on death row, one murder would be prevented, according to a 2004 study by an Emory University professor.


So I conclude by saying that death penalty is indeed effective against murderers committing heinous crimes.


citations


[1]http://www.thehindu.com...



[2]http://www.washingtonpost.com...


[3]http://deathpenaltycurriculum.org...














missbailey8

Pro

Thank you for your rebuttal. After rereading your opening statements a few times, here is my rebuttal.

Morality - In this section of my opponents argument, they mentioned that the murder affected the entire family. The death penalty doesn't cocern the effects the family in question faced. In fact, in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, one of the families who had an eight year old son killed urged against the death penalty of the bomber in an open letter. [1] Also, a 2008 study suggested that punishing the offender made the victim (or the families) feel worse. [2]

Proper Judgment - I would barely classify this as a reason for capital punishment to be accepted. This just shows it's a lengthy process. Yes, the process of a death penalty case is around 6-10 years, but this doesn't mean mistakes can't be made. [3] Like I said in my opening statements, 130 death row inmates have been released. Despite proper judgment, they were wrongly convicted. But imagine what would happen if they were killed: we wouldn't be able to bring them back.

Deterrence - One example of the failure of deterrence states that crime in North Carolina has gone down since 2006. Coincidentally, not one person has been executed in NC since then. Similarly, murder rates are lower in states that don't have the death penalty. [4]

"In fact, most people on death row committed their crimes in the heat of passion, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while suffering from mental illness." [5] In these circumstances, would you think of the future consequences you may face? You wouldn't be able to think rationally. So my opponents argument about would be criminals being put off by the death penalty only represents a marginal group.

Kindest from of punishment - My opponent states that inmates lose their right to vote and that they're not considered a citizen. They go on to talk about how keeping them alive would be inhumane. With this argument, you could say that all inmates with a life sentence should be put to death. There are outrageous examples of life sentences like 3,000 cases of life without parole of non-violent crimes. [6, 7] So should someone be sentenced to death for, say, possession of a crack pipe or breaking into a liquor store?

In conclusion, I believe that the death penalty shouldn't be used for punishment. Thank you for the debate.

Citations
[1]http://www.cnn.com...
[2]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[3]http://criminal.lawyers.com...
[4, 5]http://nccadp.org...
[6]http://www.theguardian.com...
[7]http://www.motherjones.com...
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by fire_wings 1 year ago
fire_wings
subhapriyamissbailey8Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: http://www.debate.org/forums/society/topic/85582/ From the Voters Union
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
subhapriyamissbailey8Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: http://www.debate.org/forums/miscellaneous/topic/85418/