The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Death Penalty

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 993 times Debate No: 18723
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




The Death Penalty in America is neccesary as criminal justice has 4 theories of punishment: Deterrence, retribution, isolation, and rehabilitation. The death penalty is primarily retribution but also serves as deterrence. It is a permanent mind barrier that helps prevent future crimes of the same nature. It is as well a proven fact that people cannot commit a crime past their death. If the people whom are charged guilty are not dealt with accordingly they run the chance of endangering others life's. This would be a meaningless death as it could have been avoided statistics state criminals often go down the same destructive path they first traveled trough.


Alright, I am not sure whether you have posted your opening speech or not, but as it is 3 parts long, i will rebut what has been said now (or at least, attempt to).

So, let's go over the major points of the opposition before starting the argument: The points of contention are that those who are "charged guilty run the chance of endangering other's life's [sic]", "The death penalty...serves as a deterrence" and "The death penalty is primarily retribution".

My arguments will be very simple, and hopefully, we shall all learn something from this:

Firstly, i'd like to state that both myself and my opponent will think we have a moral high ground, so I shall refrain from this specific line of argument, as it is redundant. Therefore, I am going to eliminate my personal, individual moral position for this, and continue with (hopefully) pure observation.

The financial side of the issue
Firstly, there is the financial side to the argument. Now, there are a multitude of different reasons why we should not have the death penalty, but this is the first one. If we take an amoral position so personal judgement does not cloud our position, the first is money. This is the thing; we are in a reccession. This is an incredibly strange scenario we find ourselves in, one of the first times in history where I can actually apply cost into an argument about the death penalty and be rational. The thing is, we know that the death penalty costs a lot more; this is a fact. Citations have been gathered[1] showing the cost is high; in California, the average waiting time on death row is 20 years, the average time in the country is 14 years. Texas prides itself on being the fastest; an average of ten years before killing someone.

But in all actuality, the cost of death row is extreme. The cost of people on death row in California has been cited at 300 million dollars[2] and the cost in Illnois... well, I think this quote explains it:

"Illinois has spent over $100 million in 10 years and hasn't put anyone to death," said a sponsor of the Illinois bill, State Rep. Karen Yarbrough, a Democrat. "It's time to put this barbaric practice to rest."

In California a 2008 report showed that the $137 million annual cost of maintaining the criminal justice system would drop to just $11.5 million annually if the death sentence were abolished.[3]

If we were to look economically, we can tell very clearly how inefficient the death penalty is, and its repeal would reduce California's spending by enough to almost secure their target of state deficit reduction.

The lack of redemption
Now, some people will argue with me that some criminals are beyond redemption, and will not think that they should be treated humanely. I'd agree and disagree.

I'd disagree firstly because of motive behind most actions. The majority of the people on death row are there for murder. What are they specifically there for. Those who have the capacity for redemption and return to society should not be executed; the slothul behaviour of society when it comes to these people should be condemned to the point of public outcry. Yet the execution of those who are irredeemable by modern society would be caused by a form of insanity[4] and it is from an ailment where the person would not kill if he was of able mind. If we suppose that, and I know it is a strange idea, that those who kill people actually have something wrong with them, then it would be deemed illegal to execute them.

Force people to murder
If you enact a law which creates Capital Punishment, what you are affectively doing is forcing people to kill others. The pro-death penalty camp has been dwindling, now 40% of people are against it. By enacting Capital Punishment, you force people to pay for Capital Punishment; you force people to kill others, no matter how indirectly. [5]

Justice of the victim
Capital Punishment works purely in favour of the victim. This is not how the law works, and people need to recognise that. We cannot make the entire law system revolve around the victim of the crime. If so, the entire law system works around the idea of knee jerk reactions and disregard of others. It is obvious that a victim will always want heavier punishment, while the defendant will want a less severe punishment; that is how the system will always work. We can see from cases such as the Milly Dowler case that people will want extreme punishments: Sally Dowler said that "I hope that in prison ... his life is a living hell."[6] If we allow only the distorted victim's view, we get hellish actions as the response. We are living in a culture where we look at the victim's parents, their family, and their lives, but we cannot forget that the defendent has their own mother, father, family, and we cannot simply disregard people because they are related to others.
The charged guilty run the risk of endangering others' lives

I will take this as meaning in case they escape, for the explanation of this is too vague and weak for myself to go into too much depth with confidence of the specific contention. The Florida ADX Supermax has had no prison breaks or serious attempts[7]. Obama himself mentioned that there has never been an escape from a supermax prison, except one case in 1977. The risk of escaped prisoners is significantly less to chance of getting an innocent man executed.

The death Penalty serves as a deterrence
Undeniable fact. Just as, say, the placebo effect helps cure cancer. It is so minor and ridiculous to claim it as a useful deterrence that it cannot be held up. 88% of criminologists agree that it is not a useful form of deterrence[9].

The death penalty is primarily retribution
Yes, it is. Retribution is synonymous with victim's revenge (see justice of victim) and is a reason against the Death Penalty, not for it.

I will say this now, so everyone can hear me say it clearly. I am not American. I will simply ignore topics specifically referring to exacts of American Law. Specifically, I mean laws that are American-specific; cannot be applied outside of America. I am not responding to a statement saying "In the Duhrmer-California debate of 1988, the judges ruled using clause 401(a)(iii) section 4 stating that in illnois, any crime passed on...". In other words, make concessions from the fact that I do not study Law, yet alone American Law.

Thank you for participating in the debate, the citations are below, chronologically.; 84, reference to the four alternatives.;;;
Debate Round No. 1


You stated that cost is outrageously unreachable in America yet in later point you mentioned you would rather not just see this as a issue in America it is in fact that certain parts of the earth the cost is as much in fact it is quite reasonable to change one view point from one point of the world to another is not very reasonable.

Secondly one those not have to leave a prison to once again commit a crime one could kill ones inmate or multiple inmates for that mater and suffer no consequence as they would already be in jail for life in the same way that life could have been saved it would put ease on people minds to know that said menace is no longer on the streets. Secondly there is no neccesary proof claiming them insane if they lawfully know what they are doing and whether it is right or wrong then they are liable for arrest despite any other problems.

there is a difference in the murder committed the condemned has violated the social contract in for which he must pay if one violates ones contract one must answer as it is the governments and or justices system to appropriately respond to said matter as defined by the social contract. In the same way it is not biased as the victims are only exercising rights they have while the responsible has committed a crime and hence forth is being stripped of certain rights.

one can deny that it does not deter crime but one must realize that it is only planned murder's whom get the death penalty having stated this it would be nessecary for one to understand that to kill another person is to face the consequences it is a permanent mind barrier for all future murderers.;


"You stated that cost..."

I stated that I do not wish to debate American law as I am not an expert on it. Maybe i should have made that clearer. On top of this, you mentioned how the cost in certain parts of the earth is cheaper than life imprisonment. This is because of a multitude of things such as culture difference, worse criminal systems, etc. but most importantly, you specifically said "The Death Penalty in America", so I require justification in why we should make the law system worse in order to satisfy the need for killing others.

The second point, I think, is whether the people will escape and be able to recommit the crime, or commit a crime inside. These problems can be addressed in a multitude of other ways, and it would still be cheaper than enacting Capital punishment. A lot of people who are put in prison for the most egregious crimes are put into solitary confinement in supermax prisons.

"one can deny that it does not deter crime"
I am not denying it. 88% of experts agree. It is a poor way to deter crime.

(P.S I would use more depth, but my entire cache of my argument draft disappeared, and I had 10 minutes to draft this up. This is just to say I am not dropping arguments, simply lacking the time. If you would prefer, I will write this up as a longer version in a forum.)
Debate Round No. 2


Yanes27 forfeited this round.


My opponent gave no strong arguments and did not deny any of mine. Therefore, I feel I have won the debate. I thank my opponent for the debate, and await the votes.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Yanes27 7 years ago
Just spontaneous, I was in the mood to open my horizons and saw you as a worthy adversary/potential friend.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 7 years ago
May I ask the origin of the debate request, or was this just spontaneous?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jellopants 7 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Good debate. Pro should have offered a format instead of leading into his contentions. It certainly did not help his case or his conduct vote.