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Allison Gale Ms.

Gale English Block 4 2/3/14 The Death Penalty: A Necessary Evil Imagine your mom, your little brother, or your best friend. Someone who was full of life, cared for you, looked up to you, and looked out for you. You expected they would always be in your life. But instead, a random act of violence takes their life away. It might have been a burglary gone wrong. Maybe it was a carjacking. Or maybe they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the fact remains- their life has been taken away for no reason, and nothing can bring them back now. You and your family now have to deal with this loss of someone special. How would you feel if you knew their murderer, when caught by police, was sentenced to life in prison? What if you were told they had murdered someone before your mom, your brother, your best friend- only to be released early, due to overcrowding, or due to good behavior. Would you like knowing that they would be spending the rest of their life in a prison facility getting three meals a day, watching tv, being allowed to play basketball outside, doing crafts, reading books? This is why enforcing the death penalty is so important. I believe the death penalty is a good idea because it helps prevent crimes, helps with prison overcrowding, and prevents criminals from committing more crimes. The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, has been around since the eighteenth century, as punishment for various crimes. In England, the death penalty was very common, from committing crimes anywhere from treason to cutting down a tree. When the colonists first came to America, they brought the idea of the death penalty with them. The death

penalty has been part of American history since the beginning. Now, even hundreds of years later, we still have the same punishment for serious offenses. As of April 1, 2013, there are over three thousand inmates on death row, according to deathpenaltyinfo.org, with 32 states still enforcing the death penalty. To begin with, the death penalty helps prevent crime. According to idebate.org, the reasoning here is simple- fear of execution can play a powerful motivating role in convincing potential murderers not to carry out their acts. They are saying that many people would be afraid of receiving the death penalty as punishment, so they will not commit the crimes in the first place if they know they might die. Imagine you cheat on a test in school. If you know if you might get caught, you know your punishment would be to receive a zero on the test. But what if you knew that if you got caught, you could be immediately expelled from school? This fear of such an extreme consequence would prevent many students from cheating. This logic can be applied to the death penalty as well. This makes the crime not worthwhile to the criminal. A study done at the University of North Carolina stated that a single execution deters 18 murders. Another influential study, which looked at over 3,054 counties over two decades, further found support for the claim that murder rates tend to fall as executions rise (idebate.org). If one person receiving the death penalty could save 18 lives, then this is a great way to help society. In addition, the death penalty helps with prison overcrowding. Many prisons across the United States are overcrowded. This is a serious issue because it can cause many problems, such as increased violence and psychological damage. When prisons are overcrowded, many times prisoners are either released or transferred. For example, In 2011, California prison overcrowding was so problematic that a district court panel ordered authorities to release or transfer more than 33,000 inmates (idebate.org). This means that some of these convicted

criminals are being released back out into the world. Would you want these people coming back out into the community? I certainly wouldnt feel safe. According to idebate.org, It is better to execute those who deserve it than to be forced to release dangerous offenders into society because prisons are overcrowded by people serving life sentences. If we want to ensure the safety of our communities, than many of these people serving life sentences should receive the death penalty instead, so this way they are not taking up space in the prisons. This would allow for other criminals who have committed less serious crimes to take their spots in prison to serve their deserved time. Furthermore, the death penalty helps prevent criminals from committing even more crimes. If you are in prison, and you commit a crime, it cant really get any worse for you except for a longer sentence. There is no real consequence other than that. However, with the death penalty, these prisoners still have something to be fearful of. As stated by idebate.org, while in prison, it is not uncommon for those receiving life in jail sentences to commit homicide, suicide, or other crimes while in jail, since there is no worse punishment they can receive. These criminals already see prison as a punishment, and therefore do not care about their actions, since nothing worse can happen to them. Plus, these criminals could always escape or harm the prison workers, so the only way to be absolutely certain that a convicted murder can no longer hurt others is to execute them (idebate.org). Many stories headline the news of convicted murderers who have been released from prison, only to kill again. This was the case of Kenneth McDuff, who after being released, killed 8 more people. According to a quote from procon.org, "[Kenneth McDuff] was a clear and present danger I guess a true [death penalty] abolitionist would say, 'Put this guy in prison for life,' but he had already gotten that punishment, and he got out. Also, murderers can kill again in prison. It happens all the time. The death penalty is a necessity in

these cases." This shows how the death penalty is necessary to prevent more crimes and murders from happening. However, there are many people who believe that the death penalty is wrong. One reason is that they believe the cost of the death penalty is too expensive. Although this is a legitimate concern, the cost of justice is priceless. There are also ways to reduce the cost of the death penalty, so this should not be a reason to take away the death penalty. Some people also believe that the government does not have the right to take away someones life. Yet when people are imprisoned, they are still losing some of their rights as well.According to idebate.org, when you commit certain heinous crimes, you forgo your right to life. This does not devalue life, but rather affirms the value of the innocent life taken by the criminal. Certain crimes are so heinous that the only proportionate sentence is execution. This means that if you are choosing to commit such a terrible crime, then you are aware of the consequence that might end your life. This is your decision, and you must accept what happens. In conclusion, the death penalty is a necessary tool of the United States justice system. As Richard Devine, State Attorney in Illinois writes, "Our position has been and remains that the death penalty is appropriate for the worst of the worst, people who have committed crimes so atrocious that they are no longer fit to be among us (procon.org). This quote shows that these criminals no longer have a right to be a part of this society, as they have broken the rules and laws that keep us safe. The death penalty helps with prisons that face overcrowding, which can lead to dangerous situations. It also helps with crime prevention, as well as preventing convicted criminals to commit more crimes. It is necessary for us as a country to enforce the death penalty, in order to protect us from harmful and evil people, and to be sure justice is served. Works Cited

"This House Supports the Death Penalty." Idebate.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2014. <http://idebate.org/debatabase/debates/capital-punishment/house-supports-death-penalty>.

"Death Row Inmates by State and Size of Death Row by Year." Death Penalty Information Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2014. <http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/death-row-inmatesstate-and-size-death-row-year>.

"Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed? - Death Penalty - ProCon.org." ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014. <http://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001324>.