If capital punishment doesn’t deter crime, what will?

Clearly, crime is still high in the United States despite the inclusion of the death penalty in many states. According to Bagaric (2006), “the homicide rate in US states with the death penalty has been 48 to 101 percent higher than in states without the death penalty. ” However, most violent criminals are past the point of caring what their legal future holds. In fact, many have the mindset that justice system allows convicts sentenced to death to sit on death row for years while lawyers rake in money and appeal after appeal is argued (“Death be not so complicated” Savage 2007).

What chance of deterring is that? While capital punishment may not deter crime, per se, but it does give society some level of peace knowing that violent criminals are removed from society for life. Nevertheless, an urgent need for sentencing reform is on the rise. One option is to work harder to enforce the “three-strikes-your-out rule”, and possibly implement a “one-strike” rule for violent crimes.

When criminals know they can get a slap on the wrist for the first two offenses, why shouldn’t they take the chance? If there is a one-strike law, criminals will know that society and the justice system is saying “enough is enough. ” In economic terms, capital punishment is more cost effective versus housing inmates for life. According to the American Bar Associational Journal, a death sentence is “supposed” to be the final act, “but for the U. S. Supreme Court, it often seems like just the beginning.

”(Savage 2007) In fact, many appellate judges hear death sentence appeals decades after the crime occurred or sentencing commenced and often hear the same case more than once. The most obvious (and common sense related) deterrent to crime it to ensure criminals face the consequences the first time, versus the current statutes that allow criminals to be released time and again. It is only when too much damage has been done that violent criminals are often faced with capital punishment.

This is not to argue that all violent crimes warrant the death penalty on the first offense; however, harsher sentences for first time violent acts will be more apt to show true reductions in crime.

Works cited:

Bagaric, Mirko. “Capital Punishment Doesn’t Deter Crime – It’s a fact. ” Moral Dilemma An Exploration of the Important Moral Issues Our Time. Posted on July 4th, 2006,     accessed February 22, 2007 http://www. moraldilemma. observationdeck. org/? p=88 Savage, David G. “Death Be Not So Complicated. ” ABA Journal 93. 1 (2007): 16-17.