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DOes the death penalty work?

Last fall, the American Law Institute, which created the intellectual framework for the modern capital justice system almost 50 years ago, pronounced its project a failure and walked away from it.

There were other important death penalty developments last year: the number of death sentences continued to fall, Ohio switched to a single chemical for lethal injections and New Mexico repealed its death penalty entirely. But not one of them was as significant as the institute’s move, which represents a tectonic shift in legal theory.

“The A.L.I. is important on a lot of topics,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “They were absolutely singular on this topic” — capital punishment — “because they were the only intellectually respectable support for the death penalty system in the United States.”

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Asked by sweet-a-kins at 12:46 PM on Jan. 5, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (26)
  • sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 12:46 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • Honestly, I think it is a easy way out.

    When someone does something that horrible, they should too suffer, and I think the death penalty is an easy way out of their misery..

    Why not have them live, locked up, not being able to be with family and friends. They should also ask them to volunteer for medical reason, test medicine and stuff like that give back something. Not just live for nothing.

    Answer by KFree907 at 12:52 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • The states that have the death penalty often have the highest crime rates. It doesn't work and many people have sat on death row wrongly accused and nearly executed. Many more have been killed. Society is no better than the criminal when they have a punishment like the death penalty. We are lowered to their level. My cousin was murdered and her murderer was put to death. My family spent many years waiting for this man to die it was their whole life. When he was put to death they felt worse their whole reason for living was gone and they had nothing but bitterness and hate. It is common in families and it is not uncommon for suicides to happen after they family gets what they want. My cousins father and mother committed suicided together just a few months after the execution. It is unhealthy and causes more issues than it solves.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:54 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • The way I see it, if the person is dead at the end then it worked. The only thing wrong with the death penalty is, it's not used often or swiftly enough.

    Answer by Carpy at 1:02 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • I think they are doing it all wrong. For me, anyone convicted (100% guilty via forensics) of a sex offense, including molestation, as well as murderers should just be killed at dawn via firing squad or hanging. I really believe that would save our country so much money, as well as send a clear, strong message to those who think they will get away from everything and whatnot. I believe crime rates would sink. Sickos would have to either be VERY sneaky, or just go pay for a hooker to live out their sick games with.
    I am all for the death penalty, it just needs to be re-vamped.

    Answer by NightPhoenix at 1:03 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • as well as send a clear, strong message to those who think they will get away from everything and whatnot.

    There is absolutely no proof to show that the death penalty works as a deterrent. If it did, then wouldn't states that still use the death penalty have a lower murder rate? But they don't... in fact states with the death penalty tend to have higher murder rates than states that don't.

    Answer by mommy_lisa25 at 1:17 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • The death penalty isn't working because it isn't being used properly. DNA and today's high tech forensics can guarantee guilt. Those convicted under these circumstances should be fast tracked for execution, carried out within 30 days. Those that lack DNA but have other overwhelming forensic evidence should be carried out within a year.

    It is hard to tell how well having it "works." There is no way of knowing how many crimes were prevented by carrying it out. Surely we cannot expect sociopaths to be deterred by it. There criminal behavior is hardwired into their systems, just as it is for rapists and child molestors.

    The question shouldn't be whether it deters crime, but whether it is the best solution. The answer to this is yes. Society can't even feed, clothe and provide medical care for the non-criminals why should they have to provide these comforts to criminals. That further victimizes society.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 1:20 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • The murder rate arguement is incorrect.  Here is a site where you can check each state.  I have gone through them all and it simply isn't true.  My state which has the death penalty has a murder rate of 1.9 per 100,000 people.

    Additionally some of the states with a higher rate have high rates of crimes by illegals.  Then there are those that have more people below the poverty level.  You have to take these things into consideration.  Simply comparing states and their ratios is not an apples to apples comparison.


    Answer by yourspecialkid at 1:29 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • I think it's a failure becuase most states fail to carry it out in a timely manor.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:35 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • This is my opinion, but how does murdering someone in revenge for a crime they committed OK? It's still murder, you're still killing someone. If someone were to kill someone out of revenge for some horrendous crime that person committed against them or their family that person would still be held liable for murdering that person in the eyes of the law. But if the law does it, then it's OK?

    Killing someone, no matter the reason behind it, is still killing them. It makes me feel dirty to think that my tax money may have been used to kill another human being no matter what they did. I guess I just choose to live my life with a higher standard than an eye for an eye.

    Answer by mommy_lisa25 at 1:35 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

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