The Instigator
Amphia
Con (against)
The Contender
DerDurchschnittenStreber
Pro (for)

Death Penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/5/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,455 times Debate No: 110183
Debate Rounds (4)
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Amphia

Con

I believe that the death penalty is morally wrong and logically wrong.

First round is acceptance.
DerDurchschnittenStreber

Pro

I believe the death penalty should be used more, however with stipulations. I accept the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Amphia

Con

I believe the death penalty is wrong on a moral standpoint and from a logical standpoint:

1. State-sanction murder/Immoral
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How can we as a society tell people not to murder and then turn around and say "but the state can!" The death penalty is murder.

mur"der
G2;mərdər/Submit
noun
1.
the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

You might argue that it is legal but I say it violates our 8th amendment which states: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." The death penalty is cruel punishment. If someone commits a horrendous act, I am not saying they should be excused, I am saying they should not be murdered by the state.

The death penalty is also dangerous. We run the risk of killing innocent people. Many states have reopened cases where there might have been a chance that the person was wrongfully killed. We already mess up on prison sentence, sending people to prison for 19 years for crimes they did not commit. What makes you think it won't happen in death penalty cases?
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2. Costly
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According to Common Dreams: "The death penalty is quite expensive and life imprisonment can be cheaper. Over the lifetime of a case, executing prisoners can be three times as expensive as life in prison, primarily due to the higher costs of capital punishment trials, automatic appeals, and the heightened security on death row with lower staff-to-prisoner ratios. Commuting all death sentences to life in prison would save hundreds of millions of dollars per year in the U.S. and many billions over the coming decades."

https://www.commondreams.org...

One example of this is in Oregon where: "in 1995 the trials for three Washington County murder cases cost more than $1.5 million. One was sentenced to death. The two others, one of whom was found guilty of four murders, are not on death row. In 2000 a fiscal impact summary from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services stated that the Oregon Judicial Department alone would save $2.3 million annually if the death penalty were eliminated. It is estimated that total prosecution and defense costs to the state and counties equal $9 million per year."

https://oadp.org...

Furthermore:

"According to a study by the Kansas Judicial Council (downloads as a pdf), defending a death penalty case costs about four times as much as defending a case where the death penalty is not considered. In terms of costs, a report of the Washington State Bar Association found that death penalty cases are estimated to generate roughly $470,000 in additional costs to the prosecution and defense versus a similar case without the death penalty; that doesn't take into account the cost of court personnel...

...citing Richard C. Dieter of the non-partisan Death Penalty Information Center, Fox News has reported that studies have "uniformly and conservatively shown that a death-penalty trial costs $1 million more than one in which prosecutors seek life without parole.

And let's not forget about appeals: in Idaho, the State Appellate Public Defenders office spent about 44 times more time on a typical death penalty appeal than on a life sentence appeal (downloads as a pdf): almost 8,000 hours per capital defendant compared to about 180 hours per non-death penalty defendant. New York state projected that the death penalty costs the state $1.8 million per case just through trial and initial appeal."

https://www.forbes.com...

So the death penalty uses up more money and time than a non-capital case. Contrary to popular belief, combining the full case costs of a non-capital trial vs the full case cost of a capital trial, death penalty in the end costs way more.
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3. Unjust/Racially Charged
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The death penalty has also been proven to be biased towards white people and against people of color. The death penalty is also more likely to be applied when the defendant is black and the victim is white..

Martin O'Malley, JD, the former Governor of Maryland asserts: "Our nation's legacy of slavery and racial injustice find continued offense in our use of the death penalty. Our death row population is more than 40% black -- nearly three times the proportion of the general population."

"The death penalty is racist and has been applied in racially-discriminatory ways. African American men are disproportionately sentenced to death. Prosecutors, juries, and judges are much more likely to apply the death penalty when the victim is white and the defendant is black. Race is a "potent influence" at every step in the criminal (in)justice system, including search, arrest, indictment, trial, conviction, sentence, and execution."

https://www.commondreams.org...
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4. Not evidence of deterrence
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There is no evidence that the death penalty deters any crime whatsoever. Why are wasting taxpayer dollars for something that doesn't even have any benefits?

"Whether one compares the similar movements of homicide in Canada and the US when only the latter restored the death penalty, or in American states that have abolished it versus those that retain it, or in Hong Kong and Singapore (the first abolishing the death penalty in the mid-1990s and the second greatly increasing its usage at the same), there is no detectable effect of capital punishment on crime..."

https://deathpenalty.procon.org...
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5. No healing
And finally, my last argument is that the death penalty provides no healing.

""To me, the death penalty also is something else " a sad reminder of how our justice system typically offers punishment instead of healing for the survivors of violent crime"For a growing number of victims of violence, the thought of honoring our loved ones by killing another human being is not only counter-intuitive, but abhorrent."

How does killing another human make us feel better? At the end of the day, the victim's families still feel the pain, the loss, and the agony of their loved one being taken away.

https://deathpenalty.procon.org...
DerDurchschnittenStreber

Pro

*NOTE: ALL STATISTICS ARE BASED ON USA PRISONS UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
Although the death penalty is considered not to be a humane way to punish criminals, it is certainly a more humane punishment than spending years in a building where you are caged in, treated poorly, assaulted, raped, and fed disgusting food. The death penalty should not be a punishment for petty crimes. It should be reserved for crimes that would typically bring a long sentence(10+ years.)

There are many crimes that have penalties longer than 10 years, such as grand theft, embezzlement, extreme tax evasion, and other non violent crimes, that should not necessarily be punished with the death penalty. With that said, the first step to making the death penalty an "acceptable" punishment is to revamp the prison system. Currently the prison system is failing to "rehabilitate" its prisoners. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 30 states, 3 out of 4 released inmates were arrested again within 5 years of release(https://www.bjs.gov....) Of the formerly incarcerated, 61% of inmates arrested 4 or fewer times before were re-incarcerated, and 86% of those with 10 or more arrests were re-incarcerated. (Information from same source as above.)

Norway is the country with the lowest recidivism(re-incarceration) rate, sitting at 20% (http://www.businessinsider.com....) Norway's prison system focuses on rehabilitating the criminal, and therefore works very differently than ours. Inmates can only be initially given up to 21 years in prison, however more years can be added. Norway's prisons have prisoners live in a society very much like real society: the inmates cook for themselves with whatever utensils needed, everyone has the opportunity to become friends(even guards can be friends with inmates,) there are outlets for anger/emotion(some prisons have recording studios,) and there are no unnecessary bars. Inmates can learn vocational skills, and the area is generally nice. Rehabilitation techniques include personal therapy and anger management therapy.

With further focus on rehabilitating the individual, and better rehabilitation techniques, we can then shorten the length of prison sentences. Proper rehabilitation(which is the purpose of jail, not to punish"a common misconception) should be able to take place within 10 years. If in 10 years a criminal cannot be rehabilitated, he/she should be euthanized. Committers of especially heinous crimes such as murder, rape, and child molestation should be given the death penalty upon conviction. They will stay in prison for 10 years while any remaining evidence is found, appeals are exhausted, and retrials held. If the conviction upholds, then once that judgement has been reached, even if the 10 year grace period has not yet passed, the criminal will be euthanized immediately.

In 2015, having criminals imprisoned in federal prisons cost between $26,000 and $32,000 per inmate per year(https://www.federalregister.gov....) The budget for federal prisons that year totaled $8.5 billion. The percent of inmates serving/convicted of time 10 years or greater is approximately 48.7%(https://www.bop.gov....) For easy calculation and accounting for margin of error, let"s assume that rate is 50%. Half($4.75 billion) of the federal prison budget in 2015 was spent on inmates serving sentences of 10+ years. There is at least $2.5 billion worth of tax money to be saved by not spending it on overly long prison sentences. The death penalty is extremely inexpensive depending on the method. I recommend firing squad. Bullets cost a few cents each, and prison guards already carry weapons anyway. That is most likely the simplest and most effective execution method.

A quick summary: The American prison system is meant to rehabilitate inmates, yet fails miserably at doing so. The US boasts a whopping 75% recidivism rate. The methods used in US prison systems are not designed to complete the task of rehabilitation. Norway has a very different jail system with the lowest recidivism rate in the world(20%.) American jails should be more closely modeled after Norwegian prisons, and the maximum sentence should be 10 years. If an inmate cannot be rehabilitated in that time, the death penalty is the best course of action. Criminals that commit extreme crimes such as murder or rape should be euthanized as soon as all appeals and due process has been exhausted and the conviction stands. Spending around $30,000 per inmate per year in federal prison is more than many people are paid in this country, and with approximately half of all inmates serving sentences of longer than 10 years, at least a quarter of the $8.5 billion dollar federal prison budget could be saved by getting rid of half the prisoners. There are many forms of execution, but firing squad is likely to the be simplest and most cost effective method.

The death penalty is overall a more humane, economical, quicker, and easier form of punishment than spending many years in a jail where worse things than the original crime can continually happen to the inmate.
Debate Round No. 2
Amphia

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for their response. Now onto rebuttals:

My opponent mentions that the death penalty is more humane than being in jail. I whole-heartedly disagree with this. As I said before, the death penalty is state-sanctioned murder. Why do we get the right to decide who lives or dies? Yes, people commit horrendous crimes, regardless, you cannot tell someone not to murder and in the same breath say that you have the right to murder them. I would argue 2 points against their Prison=Misery argument:

1.Not all prisons are not as despicable as you make them out to be. Most prisons in the U.S. provide sufficient quarters for rooming, decent food, and space for exercising. No, prison isn"t luxurious but it isn"t supposed to be. In the cases of rape, it is disgusting how widespread prison rape is but that isn"t an excuse to say that killing prisoners would be easier. As you mention further in your argument, our prison system needs revamping.

2.And anyway, murder is worse. If the prisoner wanted to die, they could kill themselves. That is not up to the state (though I would prefer that nobody killed anyone).
I do not care what crime the person committed, the death penalty is an unacceptable form of punishment.

I agree that our prison system needs a reboot. Instead of just sending people to jail over and over again, we need to work on helping them get better. Framing a model inspired by Norway isn"t a bad idea though I advise against copying their system completely. However, your time period, 10 years, is ridiculous. You have no evidence to prove that a prisoner can be fully rehabilitated after 10 years. What makes you think that is a good number? Some people have deep seated issues and to put a time frame on their healing is absurd. Adding that kind of pressure is not helping matters. Prisoners are likely to pretend they are fine to avoid being killed, and then they"d end up back in jail because they weren"t truly rehabilitated.

Also, I resent how you describe prisoners like they are animals. Euthanized? Really? These are people, human beings we are dealing with here.

Even if the felon has committed the crime of rape or child molestation (which are disgusting), they SHOULD NOT be given the death penalty upon conviction.

1.Juries are not perfect because they are people. One, they have biases which can blind their better judgement and two, even without bias (which is impossible), juries make incorrect convictions. At least if the sentence was life imprisonment and the person is found innocent, yes they have lost years of their life but at least they aren"t dead despite being innocent. I"d say that is net better. In regards to bias, here is some more evidence from my R2 argument:

"The death penalty has also been proven to be biased towards white people and against people of color. The death penalty is also more likely to be applied when the defendant is black and the victim is white..

Martin O'Malley, JD, the former Governor of Maryland asserts: "Our nation's legacy of slavery and racial injustice find continued offense in our use of the death penalty. Our death row population is more than 40% black -- nearly three times the proportion of the general population."

"The death penalty is racist and has been applied in racially-discriminatory ways. African American men are disproportionately sentenced to death. Prosecutors, juries, and judges are much more likely to apply the death penalty when the victim is white and the defendant is black. Race is a "potent influence" at every step in the criminal (in)justice system, including search, arrest, indictment, trial, conviction, sentence, and execution."

2.""while any remaining evidence is found, appeals are exhausted, and retrials held. If the conviction upholds"" This serves to attack your Prison=Expensive argument. No, the actual killing of the prisoner is not costly. What is costly is the trial. Because the death penalty is so severe, the trials take forever. The following is my Forbes evidence from R2:

"According to a study by the Kansas Judicial Council (downloads as a pdf), defending a death penalty case costs about four times as much as defending a case where the death penalty is not considered. In terms of costs, a report of the Washington State Bar Association found that death penalty cases are estimated to generate roughly $470,000 in additional costs to the prosecution and defense versus a similar case without the death penalty; that doesn't take into account the cost of court personnel...

...citing Richard C. Dieter of the non-partisan Death Penalty Information Center, Fox News has reported that studies have "uniformly and conservatively shown that a death-penalty trial costs $1 million more than one in which prosecutors seek life without parole.

And let's not forget about appeals: in Idaho, the State Appellate Public Defenders office spent about 44 times more time on a typical death penalty appeal than on a life sentence appeal (downloads as a pdf): almost 8,000 hours per capital defendant compared to about 180 hours per non-death penalty defendant. New York state projected that the death penalty costs the state $1.8 million per case just through trial and initial appeal."

It is crazy expensive because the death penalty is not just something you can apply to someone after they are convicted. The cases will be long and the prisoners are very likely to appeal which lengthen them even more. Prisoners appeal when the sentences are just jail time, why wouldn"t they appeal when it is death?

I believe that the U.S. does need to improve our incarceration system but making the maximum prison sentence 10 years is not the way to do this. And killing an inmate is NOT how we rehabilitate people! Putting a time limit on rehabilitation is hypocritical and shows that the Pro doesn"t truly care about it. As I"ve said, convictions can be wrong and I don"t care if we kill just 1 innocent person, that"s 1 too many.

Furthermore, the death penalty has not been shown to deter crime. This is some more Round 2 evidence:

"There is no evidence that the death penalty deters any crime whatsoever. Why are wasting taxpayer dollars for something that doesn't even have any benefits?

"Whether one compares the similar movements of homicide in Canada and the US when only the latter restored the death penalty, or in American states that have abolished it versus those that retain it, or in Hong Kong and Singapore (the first abolishing the death penalty in the mid-1990s and the second greatly increasing its usage at the same), there is no detectable effect of capital punishment on crime...""

The death penalty is inhumane and wrong from a moral, economic, and logical standpoint. By allowing ourselves to think that killing someone for a crime is the best way to solve our problems, we only perpetuate the idea that murder is acceptable.
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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