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The Death Penalty: The Deterrent

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Legal Issues

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Thesis: As a deterrent in our justice system the death penalty should continue to be used
I. Cruel or unusual punishme
A. Existing means.
B. Former means,

II. The deterrent effect
A. Eliminate future criminal behavior

III. Rehabilitation verses vengeance.
A. Rehabilitation and serving time.
B. Vengeance

IV. Criminals families.
A. Rehabilitation
B. Retribution
C. Restoration

V. Christianity
A. The fifth commandment

VI. Closing
A. Today's reality

"Had the death penalty been a real possibility in the minds of ...murderers, they might well have stayed their hand. They might have shown moral awareness before their victims died...Consider the tragic death of Rosa Velez, who happened to be home when a man named Luis Vera burglarized her apartment in Brooklyn. "Yeah, I shot her," Vera admitted...And I knew I wouldn't go to the chair." (Lowe 3)
As the above passage reads, why should we waste our time with these heartless and arrogant people?
Murderers should not be allowed to walk the streets after being found guilty of such violent crimes. "To protect the innocent and transfer the fear and burden of crime to the criminal element where it belongs, we must demand that capital punishment be imposed when justified and expanded to cover terrible crimes in addition to murder" (Lee 163).
Ever since executions have existed, there have been several methods of executing criminals. Firing squad, hanging, decapitation, and stoning people to death were some of the methods that had been used in the past to perform executions. The three most common forms of executions in the United States today are: electrocution, the gas chamber, and lethal injection (Mortimer 67). As of February 25, 1998, there have been nine lethal injections and one gas chamber execution this year in the United States (USA Executions). Being only a month and a half into the year, and already having ten executions, this tells us that there is a lot of crime in today's society. Law enforcement officials are protecting our nation to the best of their ability; therefore, it is our duty to see that justice is served.
Deterrence is a strategy that our justice system uses to reduce or eliminate future criminal behavior. Deterrence is similar to the concept of the Old Testament known as "an eye for an eye." As the criminals, family members hope that rehabilitation can effect a scheduled death from taking place, retribution is what the victims family members mostly depend on. Restoration is required by the victims and their family members to feel "whole again." The death penalty should continue to be allowed in our justice system. The death penalty is neither cruel nor unusual punishment. Polls taken in the late 1980s and 1990s have shown that 75 to 80 percent of all Americans support capital punishment (Monk 228). The death penalty is not a violation of the eighth amendment by being cruel and unusual punishment. The current means of the death penalty is accomplished by lethal injection, usually performed in a controlled environment with several witnesses present and supervised by a doctor. Considering the majority of criminals sentenced to the death penalty have murdered other humans by, mutilation, stabbing, torture, rape, and many other violent acts of murder. Then there is no way that the death penalty could be considered cruel or unusual. Due to the perpetrators lack of regard for the rights of their victims, why should it be cruel or unusual to exact retribution for their offenses?
Deterrence uses punishment as an act to convince people who contemplate criminal activity that crimes will not be tolerated in society. Isaac Ehrlich, for instance, in an extensive statistical analysis of executions between the years 1933 and 1967, reached very different conclusions. He contends not only that the executions reduced the murder rate but that one additional execution per year between 1933 and 1967 would have resulted in seven or eight fewer murders per year (Monk 229). Although they are well aware of the crimes that they are committing criminals just do not anticipate being caught. Those individuals convicted of capital crimes are not good candidates for rehabilitation in our current correctional facilities.
Take the case of John Wayne Gacy who was executed on May 10, 1994. Considered by many to be a model citizen, a hospital volunteer whose sweet clown face enlightened the patient's stay, Gacy, was instead a compulsive maniac who sodomized, tortured, and killed thirty-three young men and boys (Maiken, and Sullivan). People like this are a disgrace to our society and do not deserve the right to live. After knowing the crimes this maniac has committed, is there any hope that again, one day, this "man" could be a "model citizen" again? No! Rehabilitation is ...

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