Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?

Since 1977, one year after the Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of the death penalty, more than 1,480 people have been executed, 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) rss icon
California Governor Declares Death Penalty Moratorium
3/14/2019 California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Mar. 13, 2019, placing a moratorium on the death penalty, granting reprieves to 737 death row inmates, closing the San Quentin execution chamber, and stopping the state from creating a constitutional lethal injection protocol.

Updated: 30 States with the Death Penalty and 20 States with Death Penalty Bans
3/13/2019 Explore which states have the death penalty and which have bans, along with information such as which states have moratoriums or court-ordered stays on the use of capital punishment.

New ProCon.org Website! - Should Birth Control Pills Be Available Over-the-Counter?
2/21/2019 - Our new topic explores the pros and cons in the debate over making birth control pills available over-the-counter (OTC). 9.1 million women (12.6% of contraceptive users) use birth control pills, which are the second-most commonly used method of contraception in the United States. Proponents say making the birth control pill available over-the-counter would lower teen pregnancy rates, provide contraceptive access to medically underserved women, and ease access to a health-improving drug with decades of safe use. Opponents say making the Pill over-the-counter would raise the cost of contraception for women, pose a danger to teens' and women's health by removing the doctor's visit requirement, and limit what options are made available.

Our new website presents the top pro & con arguments and quotes, a history of the debate, a video gallery, the prescription status of birth control pills around the world, and a list of drugs switched from prescription to OTC status.

Archived Notices

Last updated on 3/14/2019 10:03:00 AM PST

Since 1977, one year after the Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of the death penalty, more than 1,480 people have been executed, 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) rss icon
California Governor Declares Death Penalty Moratorium
3/14/2019 California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Mar. 13, 2019, placing a moratorium on the death penalty, granting reprieves to 737 death row inmates, closing the San Quentin execution chamber, and stopping the state from creating a constitutional lethal injection protocol.

Updated: 30 States with the Death Penalty and 20 States with Death Penalty Bans
3/13/2019 Explore which states have the death penalty and which have bans, along with information such as which states have moratoriums or court-ordered stays on the use of capital punishment.

New ProCon.org Website! - Should Birth Control Pills Be Available Over-the-Counter?
2/21/2019 - Our new topic explores the pros and cons in the debate over making birth control pills available over-the-counter (OTC). 9.1 million women (12.6% of contraceptive users) use birth control pills, which are the second-most commonly used method of contraception in the United States. Proponents say making the birth control pill available over-the-counter would lower teen pregnancy rates, provide contraceptive access to medically underserved women, and ease access to a health-improving drug with decades of safe use. Opponents say making the Pill over-the-counter would raise the cost of contraception for women, pose a danger to teens' and women's health by removing the doctor's visit requirement, and limit what options are made available.

Our new website presents the top pro & con arguments and quotes, a history of the debate, a video gallery, the prescription status of birth control pills around the world, and a list of drugs switched from prescription to OTC status.

Archived Notices

Last updated on 3/14/2019 10:03:00 AM PST