Capital Punishment Does Not Deter/Reduce Crimes

To hold back from taking action or to dishearten somebody from taking action or to avert something from happening is the definition of the term ‘deter’ (Encarta, 2007). Some people may argue that tough sentences like capital punishment deter other people from committing capital crimes, for instance, murder (Encarta, 2007). For me though, the deterrence perspective does not provide sufficient justification for tough sentences like capital punishment (Encarta, 2007).

Individuals murder for several reasons and under different circumstances (Encarta, 2007). Explaining further, for instance, homicides may happen during domestic disputes or when passions are inflamed (Encarta, 2007). It may also take place when hit-men are tasked to do so (Encarta, 2007). It may also happen when brain-damaged individuals who experience periods of rage occasionally do so (Encarta, 2007).

Killings also become possible when self-destructive individuals who think they deserve to die and would like to be arrested and eventually executed prefer to do so (Encarta, 2007). It may arise as well, when psychopaths and other extremely mentally ill individuals who happen to have slight concern for human life and are unable to accept responsibility for their actions do so (Encarta, 2007). Last but not least, it may occur under the influence of alcohol or drugs or when the perpetrator is not in rational control, just like this case in question (Encarta, 2007).

It is extremely clear that except for the hit-men above mentioned, when individuals kill, they are most likely not to be in a rational state of mind, therefore, I believe that it is, rather, hopeless to expect that tough sentences like capital punishment acts as a deterrent (Robinson, 2005). Simply put, tough sentences capital punishment is not appropriate for reducing crime. In addition to that, tough sentences like capital punishment actually increases the homicide rate (Robinson, 2005).

For instance, in 1966, out of 100,000, the average murder in states where tough sentences like capital punishment is implemented is approximately seven percent while those states that do not execute individuals have a lower rate by 3. 5% (Robinson, 2005). Furthermore, comparing adjacent states where one state implements tough sentences like capital punishment and the other does not, often shows that a much higher homicide rate exists in states implementing tough sentences like capital punishment (Robinson, 2005).

Moreover, a study of homicides in New York discovered that the average number of murders increased in the month following an execution (Robinson, 2005). Also, the FBI  Uniform Crime Reports Division publication Crime in the US for 1995 reports that there were approximately five murders in every 100,000 individuals in states that have abolished tough sentences like the capital punishment, compared with 9. 2 murders in those states which still have implement tough sentences like the capital punishment (Robinson, 2005).

In addition, a 1995 study of the yearly percentage increases in homicide rates in California showed that murders augmented ten percent a year during 1952 to 1967 when the state was executing people (Robinson, 2005). When the state did not implement tough sentences like capital punishment between1968 and 1991, the increase was smaller at 4. 8% (Robinson, 2005). To supplement such statistical information, there were fifty three individuals executed in 2006 (Bureau.. , 2007).

In 2005, there were three thousand two hundred fifty four prisoners under sentence of death (Bureau.. , 2007). On the other hand, in 2005, there is an occurrence of one rape case or sexual assault out of one thousand individuals (Bureau.. , 2007). In addition to that, there are approximately six murder cases out of a hundred thousand individuals (Bureau.. , 2007). Such alarming number of executions only shows that tough sentences like capital punishment does not do anything to lessen the crime rate aforementioned as well (Bureau.., 2007).

Clearly, the above-mentioned statistics have proven that tough sentences like capital punishment have not been deterrent to crimes (Robinson, 2005). Therefore, it will not reduce crime as well (Robinson, 2005). Capital Punishment is Not Applicable to Everyone I strongly believe that capital punishment is a bad public policy because it is not “universalizable” (Kant’s.. , n. d.). The aforementioned term means “objective” for Immanuel Kant (Kant’s.. , n. d. ).

For him, before anything is made into a law or a rule, it should apply to everyone in the same way (Kant’s.. , n. d. ). This is because if it is not applicable to everyone then it is totally unfair (Robinson, 2005). For instance, the mentally ill, poor, males and racial minorities are over represented among those executed (Robinson, 2005). Also, women convicted of murder are almost never executed (Robinson, 2005). Moreover, individuals who killed whites were four times more likely to be sentenced to death than convicted killers of non-whites (Robinson, 2005).

Conclusion Capital Punishment is a bad public police because it does not provide justice, in fact it will only lead to an action that will require obtaining justice. In addition to that it does not deter or minimize crimes which have already been proven by statistics and some ‘psychological’ evidences. Last but not least, it is a bad public policy, because it is not “universalizable” or it is not be applicable to everyone.


Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2007). Capital Punishment Statistics. Retrieved June 19, 2007