Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?

1,436 people were executed in the United States from 1977 through May 2016, primarily by means of lethal injection. Most death penalty cases involve the execution of murderers although capital punishment can also be applied for treason, espionage, and other crimes.

Proponents of the death penalty say it is an important tool for preserving law and order, deters crime, and costs less than life imprisonment. They argue that retribution or "an eye for an eye" honors the victim, helps console grieving families, and ensures that the perpetrators of heinous crimes never have an opportunity to cause future tragedy.

Opponents of capital punishment say it has no deterrent effect on crime, wrongly gives governments the power to take human life, and perpetuates social injustices by disproportionately targeting people of color (racist) and people who cannot afford good attorneys (classist). They say lifetime jail sentences are a more severe and less expensive punishment than death.


 


PROS & CONS BY CATEGORY
CORE QUESTION

Background / General

Moral & Ethical Issues

Legal Considerations

Deterrence & Retribution

Social Issues

Death Penalty vs. Life in Prison

Religious Views






Notices for Death Penalty and Other ProCon.org Information (archived after 30 days)
Is the Death Penalty Immoral?
1/27/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from Semon Frank Thompson, former Superintendent of the Oregon State Penitentiary (Pro), Edward Feser, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College, (Con), Bryan Stevenson, Professor of Law at New York University School of Law (Pro), Antonin Scalia, former Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court (Con), among others.

Does the Death Penalty Deter Crime?
1/27/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from David Muhlhausen, Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at the Heritage Foundation (Pro), John J. Donohue III, Professor of Law at Stanford University (Con), Michael Summers, Professor of Management Science at Pepperdine University (Pro), H. Lee Sarokin, former US District Court and US Court of Appeals Judge (Con), among others.

Does the Death Penalty Cost Less Than Life in Prison without Parole?
1/27/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from Robert B. Evnen, Attorney and Co-founder of Nebraskans for the Death Penalty (Pro), Richard C. Dieter, former Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center (Con), Dudley Sharp, Death Penalty Resources Director of Justice For All (Pro), Charles M. Harris, Senior Judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Florida (Con), among others.

Archived Notices

Last updated on 1/31/2017 11:36:25 AM PST

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1,436 people were executed in the United States from 1977 through May 2016, primarily by means of lethal injection. Most death penalty cases involve the execution of murderers although capital punishment can also be applied for treason, espionage, and other crimes.

Proponents of the death penalty say it is an important tool for preserving law and order, deters crime, and costs less than life imprisonment. They argue that retribution or "an eye for an eye" honors the victim, helps console grieving families, and ensures that the perpetrators of heinous crimes never have an opportunity to cause future tragedy.

Opponents of capital punishment say it has no deterrent effect on crime, wrongly gives governments the power to take human life, and perpetuates social injustices by disproportionately targeting people of color (racist) and people who cannot afford good attorneys (classist). They say lifetime jail sentences are a more severe and less expensive punishment than death.

 


PROS & CONS BY CATEGORY
CORE QUESTION

Background / General

Moral & Ethical Issues

Legal Considerations

Deterrence & Retribution

Social Issues

Death Penalty vs. Life in Prison

Religious Views

US Executions by Race, Crime, Method, Age, Gender, State, & Year

Thomas Edison Electrocutes Topsy the Elephant

Should Ex-Felons Be Allowed to Vote?










Notices for Death Penalty and Other ProCon.org Information (archived after 30 days)
Is the Death Penalty Immoral?
1/27/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from Semon Frank Thompson, former Superintendent of the Oregon State Penitentiary (Pro), Edward Feser, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College, (Con), Bryan Stevenson, Professor of Law at New York University School of Law (Pro), Antonin Scalia, former Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court (Con), among others.

Does the Death Penalty Deter Crime?
1/27/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from David Muhlhausen, Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at the Heritage Foundation (Pro), John J. Donohue III, Professor of Law at Stanford University (Con), Michael Summers, Professor of Management Science at Pepperdine University (Pro), H. Lee Sarokin, former US District Court and US Court of Appeals Judge (Con), among others.

Does the Death Penalty Cost Less Than Life in Prison without Parole?
1/27/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from Robert B. Evnen, Attorney and Co-founder of Nebraskans for the Death Penalty (Pro), Richard C. Dieter, former Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center (Con), Dudley Sharp, Death Penalty Resources Director of Justice For All (Pro), Charles M. Harris, Senior Judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Florida (Con), among others.

Archived Notices

Last updated on 1/31/2017 11:36:25 AM PST