Capital punishment is the execution of criminals by the state for
committing crimes so wicked that it is the only acceptable punishment. The
debate over the death penalty has endured for years and has become
increasingly controversial. According to an article written by Richard
Worsnop, entitled “Death Penalty Debate Centers on Retribution,” in 1966,
42% of Americans were in favor of capital punishment while 47% were opposed
to it; in 1986, support for capital punishment was 80% for and only 17%
against with 3% undecided. Most of the undecided voters said they would
support capital punishment, if they had to vote on it immediately.
Currently, public approval of the death penalty is about 70%. While some
people are opposed to capital punishment, the majority is in favor of it.
Therefore, the United States government should strictly enforce capital
punishment in every state.
Admittedly, the act of killing someone is immoral and “Thou shall not
kill” is one of God’s commandments. However, if it were not for the threat
of execution, the murder rate in the United States would be far greater.
According to the United States Bureau of Justice bulletin on capital
punishment (1989), from 1955 to 1965, there were 78,500 murders and 351
executions in the United States; but from 1966 to 1976, when the death
penalty was weakened, 288,310 murders were committed and only six
executions were carried out. In order for capital punishment to work as
deterrence to crime, previous executions must be present in a criminal’s
mind before he or she commits the crime. The criminal must be aware that
other criminals have been punished in the past for the same crime that her
or she is about to commit. A criminal must also know that what happened
to a person, who committed the same crime, can also happen to him or her.
The death penalty deters murder by putting the fear of death into possible
Undoubtedly, many murders occur in the heat of the moment or during
periods of temporary insanity. Nevertheless, an individual on death row is
given ample opportunity for appeals. Capital punishment may be carried out
only when a person is found guilty with clear and convincing evidence. The
average stay on death row is eight years; longer stays are not common.
This shows that if an individual claims to be innocent, he or she has the
chance to prove that innocence throughout multiple appeals. Obviously, if
one has endured years of appeals, he or she will most likely never be found
innocent. Therefore, the individual should be sentenced to death.
One who commits murder should never be sentenced to life in prison. In
today’s world, prisoners are provided with a very suitable lifestyle. They
have everything they need and are blessed with the privileges of watching
television and going outside. It is not humane that an individual who took
the life of another should receive clothing, heating, food, and shelter,
while a homeless person who has not harmed anyone receives nothing. A
criminal guilty of murder should not have the right to any individual
freedom. Enforcing the death penalty would also provide for more space in
Capital punishment allows society to get even with murderers. Death is
the proper repayment for the terrible crime of murder. The biblical idea
“eye for an eye” applies here. If one takes another’s life, his or her
life should be taken in return. The victim’s loved ones should not have to
suffer by knowing that the victim’s murderer is still alive. Whether it is
by escaping or being released from prison, the chance of a murderer
committing another crime is always present. Capital punishment ensures
peace of mind because it ensures that a murderer will never kill again. If
one is sentenced to death, he or she is left with no options.
In conclusion, the United States government should strictly enforce the
death penalty in every state. Capital punishment is the only acceptable
punishment for criminals who have committed murder. 70% of the general
population presently supports the death penalty. Enforcing capital
punishment helps to prevent people from committing murders in the future.
It puts the fear of death into the mind of would-be murderers. The death
penalty is carried out only when an individual is found guilty without any
question; clear and convincing evidence must be provided. Capital
punishment allows for more space in prisons. It is also comforting to a
victim’s loved ones to know that the victim’s murderer had to lose his or
her life in turn for taking someone else’s.