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Noah Mabry
HELA 10 Hour 3
David
15 May, 2016
The Death Penalty Can Save Lives
I believe that more people would be alive today if there were a death penalty (Nancy
Reagan). This quote from the former first lady of the United States of America demonstrates how
the death penalty can, ironically, save lives in some peoples eyes. Capital punishment is
necessary in todays society due to its ability to deter future murders, to provide closure to
victims families, and to limit suffering for the criminal in solitary confinement. The death
penalty can save lives, and one way in which it does so is by discouraging impending murders
from occurring.
One aspect as to how the death penalty positively impacts society is by deterring future
murders. No executed criminal has ever harmed a human being (Hunter).

Taking these

criminals out of society no longer allows them the opportunity to harm innocent civilians. Even
if they have been taken out of society and been imprisoned theres another chance of them being
able to harm another person in prison. After the death penalty was abolished, murder rates
nearly tripled (Tucker). The death penalty acts as a deterrent to future crimes and convinces
criminals to not commit the shameful crime of murder. Capital punishment is useful by keeping
criminals off the streets and stopping possible murders from taking place later on.
Another thing the death penalty helps with is providing closure to victims families or
those influenced by the crime. The verdict, undoubtedly a difficult decision for the jury, gives
closure as well as the ability to keep moving forward, said transit police officer Richard

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Donahue, who was seriously injured in a shootout with the Boston Marathon bomber (CNN,
2015). This quote helps put into perspective the way that people involved in or close to a harsh
crime like this can be impacted by seeing the criminal put to death. The death penalty can
provide closure to mourning family members, injured victims, and even the criminal himself.
Capital punishment can also be viewed as a positive to some criminals put on death row to end
their suffering in places like solitary confinement.
In addition, the death penalty positively impacts society by limiting the suffering of the
criminal in prison. I have served a sentence worse than death (Solitary Watch). When an
extremely dangerous criminal, like William Blake, is put into solitary confinement, it is even
more inhumane than the death penalty. A situation like solitary confinement, where people are
stuck in a small room by themselves with little to no human interaction, is cruel in many ways.
In one study, it was found that roughly a third of solitary inmates were acutely psychotic and/or
acutely suicidal (Frontline). This shows how solitary confinement can mentally impact a human
being. The death penalty is more ethical to do than keeping people locked up in solitary, slowly
losing their sanity.
There are plenty of positives to the death penalty, however there are many arguments
swirling around against capital punishment. Whether through mistakes or abuse of power,
innocent people routinely get sent to death row (Bushman). This shows the viewpoint that there
is a possibility that the government may be killing an innocent person. In a 2006 opinion it was
cited an approximate error rate of 0.027% (CNN, 2015). In these findings by a Supreme Court
Justice, it seems that criminals are wrongfully accused at a very low rate. Theres no greater
power or authority to take a life, and our government currently reserves the authority to kill the
citizens its supposed to serve (Bushman). This is the view of the death penalty that many people

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have in which they believe that it gives the government too much power over its people. The
governments job is to protect the people it is supposed to serve and by allowing these criminals
the opportunity to take another life is improper.
Capital punishment is something that should be enforced on highly dangerous criminal
who have committed a crime harsh enough to receive it. The death penalty is necessary in
todays society due to its ability to save lives by preventing future murders, to provide closure to
families, and to give a more humane solution to the prisoner. Although many argue against it, the
death penalty is the most effective way to limit crime from occurring.

Works Cited

Bushman, Brad. "The Death Penalty Is a Flawed Form of Punishment." Death Penalty. Ed. Nol Merino. Farmington

Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2015. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "It's Time to Kill the Death Penalty." Psychology Today (19
Jan. 2014). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.
CNN. (2015, may 20th). Does death penalty bring closure? Retrieved from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/20/opinions/marsh-tsarnaev-forgiveness/
Frontline.

(2014,

april

22).

What

does

solitary confinement

do

to

your

mind?

Retrieved

from

Frontline:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/what-does-solitary-confinement-do-to-your-mind/

Goldberg, Jonah. "Why Death-Penalty Opponents Can't Win." National Review Online. 2011. Rpt. in Death Penalty.

Ed. Nol Merino. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2015. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web.
16 Feb. 2016.

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Hunter, Derek. "The Death Penalty Is an Effective Punishment." Death Penalty. Ed. Nol Merino. Farmington Hills,

MI: Greenhaven Press, 2015. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "The Ultimate Punishment." Townhall. 2013. Opposing
Viewpoints in Context. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.

Hyden, Marc. "The Death Penalty Should Be Abolished." Death Penalty. Ed. Nol Merino. Farmington Hills, MI:

Greenhaven Press, 2015. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "The Cost of Capital Punishment: Reconsidering the Death Penalty Is
a Matter of Conscience and Constitutionality." Freeman (12 May 2014). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.

Plaut (1981), The Torah A Modern Commentary, New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

Solitary

Watch.

(2013,

january

23).

Voices

from

the

Solitary

sentence.

Retrieved

from

Solitary

watch:

http://solitarywatch.com/2013/03/11/voices-from-solitary-a-sentence-worse-than-death/

Tucker, William. "The Death Penalty Is a Deterrent to Murder." Death Penalty. Ed. Nol Merino. Farmington Hills, MI:

Greenhaven Press, 2015. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "Can We Abide the Death Penalty Any Longer?" American Spectator
(July-Aug. 2014). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.