Capital Punishment and the Deterrance Theory

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Capital Punishment and the Deterrence Theory Capital Punishment Deters Crime 11/9/2012 Dr. Ji Seun Sohn Brooke Lee Capital Punishment and the Deterrence Theory: Capital Punishment Deters Crime Jerry Kilgore said in an editorial written for USA Today, “As a former prosecutor, former secretary of public safety and now attorney general, I believe that some crimes are so evil, some criminals so dangerous and some victims so tortured that executing the criminal is appropriate” (Kilgore, 2002). Capital punishment, or commonly referred to as the death penalty, is the most controversial of all of the disciplinary practices. Since it involves taking another human being’s life, this is not at all surprising. Since it is the most severe of all sentences, there have been countless efforts to abolish the death penalty, and in most of the industrialized nations, with the exception of Japan and the United States of America, these efforts have proved effective. In this paper, I will discuss the effect that capital punishment has on deterring criminal activity. Capital punishment is the execution of criminals by the state, for committing crimes, regarded so terrible, that this type of punishment is the only acceptable punishment for the crime committers. For decades now, there has been an ongoing debate over the death penalty in America. The chief argument in favor of death sentences is the fact that it can be used as a deterrent. Deterrence is the idea that executing the murderers will decrease the rates of homicide by discouraging future murderers. It may make them fear that they themselves will suffer the penalty of death if they commit a murder. A person is less likely to do something, if he or she thinks that in doing so harm will come to him. This is what is referred to as "general deterrence". Another type of deterrence to look at is known as "specific
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