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)
Does a Person's Race Affect the Likelihood of Him/Her Receiving the Death Penalty?
1/13/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from Martin O'Malley, former Governor of Maryland (Pro), Edward Koch, former Mayor of New York City (Con), Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States (Pro), and Roger Clegg, General Counsel at the Center for Equal Opportunity (Con), among others.

Should the Death Penalty Be Abolished or Paused (Moratorium) Because of the Alleged Possibility of an Innocent Person Being Executed?
1/13/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from Ernie Chambers, Nebraska State Senator (Pro), Michele Hanisee, Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles (Con), the United Nations General Assembly (Pro), and Antonin Scalia, former Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court (Con), among others.

Archived Notices

Last updated on 1/13/2017 1:06:05 PM 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)
Does a Person's Race Affect the Likelihood of Him/Her Receiving the Death Penalty?
1/13/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from Martin O'Malley, former Governor of Maryland (Pro), Edward Koch, former Mayor of New York City (Con), Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States (Pro), and Roger Clegg, General Counsel at the Center for Equal Opportunity (Con), among others.

Should the Death Penalty Be Abolished or Paused (Moratorium) Because of the Alleged Possibility of an Innocent Person Being Executed?
1/13/2017 - Explore both sides of this debate with quotes from Ernie Chambers, Nebraska State Senator (Pro), Michele Hanisee, Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles (Con), the United Nations General Assembly (Pro), and Antonin Scalia, former Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court (Con), among others.

Archived Notices

Last updated on 1/13/2017 1:06:05 PM PST