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Death Penalty Essay Introduction — a Quick Guide

Table of Contents

The death penalty is a state-sanctioned practice where an individual is executed for an offense punishable through such means. Death penalty essay is a common topic given to students where the essay writer argues this controversial issue and takes a stand. The death penalty essay intro consists of the opening sentence, the background information, and the thesis statement.

Writing a compelling introduction isn’t easy. But with the tips and examples in this guide, you’ll be able to write a captivating introduction.

What Is a Death Penalty Essay?

The death penalty is the practice of executing a person guilty of capital murder, a crime in which the loss of life is intentional. This method of punishment has been around for as long as human civilization.

The death penalty has been controversial for a long time, with people on both sides of the fence. Supporters claim it works to deter crime, but there is no evidence to prove it. Opposers claim it is cruel and is not the best way to serve justice. 

A death penalty essay argues for or against the death penalty. This essay topic is a typical assignment given to college students. Common death penalty essay topics are as follows:

  • About the Death Penalty
  • Does the Death Penalty effectively deter crime?
  • The Death Penalty should not be legal
  • The Death Penalty should be abolished.
  • Death Penalty and Justice
  • Pro-Death Penalty
  • Is the Death Penalty Morally Right?
  • Death Penalty is Immoral
  • Religious Values and Death Penalty
  • Ineffectiveness of Death Penalty
  • Punishment and the Nature of the Crime
  • The Death Penalty and Juveniles.
  • Is the Death Penalty Effective?
  • The Death Penalty is Politically Just
  • The Death Penalty: Right or Wrong?
  • Abolishment of the Death Penalty
  • The Death Penalty and People’s Opinions
  • Is Death Penalty Humane?

How to Write an Interesting Death Penalty Essay Intro

Like other essays, the death penalty essay intro comprises three parts. The hook, a strong opening sentence, grips the reader, sparks their curiosity, and compels them to read the rest of the piece.

Subsequent sentences provide background information on the topic and define the argument’s terms. The last part is the thesis statement, which summarizes the central focus of the essay.

1. the Opening Sentence/Hook

The hook is a statement that grips the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on . The hook should be an exciting statement that sparks the readers’ curiosity, and sets the tone for the essay. It should give an overview of the topic. You could begin with a thought-provoking question, an interesting quote, an exciting anecdote, or a shocking statistic or fact. 

2. Background Information

Provide more information about the subject you are discussing. Create context and give background information on the topic. It could be a social or historical context. Define key terms that the reader might find confusing and clearly but concisely state why the issue is important.

3. Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the overarching idea – the central focus of the essay. It summarizes the idea that you’ll be explaining throughout the entirety of the piece. Once this statement has been established, you’ll smoothly transition into the main body of your essay. Make the thesis clear and concise. 

Death Penalty Essay Introduction Example

Does the death penalty deter crime, especially murder? The death penalty has been controversial for years. Over the years, public opinion about the death penalty seems to have changed. But there are still people who think it is a proper punishment. I have heard the phrase “An eye for an eye” most of my life. Most people firmly believe that if a criminal took someone’s life, their lives should be taken away too. But I don’t think that will discourage anyone from committing crimes. I believe that the criminal should be given a lighter punishment. 

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug

The death penalty or capital punishment is the execution of a criminal by a government as punishment for a crime. In the United States, the death penalty is the most common form of sentence in murder cases.

A death penalty essay argues for or against the death penalty. The essay introduction begins with an attention-grabber , followed by background information on the topic and then the thesis statement.

Death Penalty Essay Introduction — a Quick Guide

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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5 Death Penalty Essays Everyone Should Know

Capital punishment is an ancient practice. It’s one that human rights defenders strongly oppose and consider as inhumane and cruel. In 2019, Amnesty International reported the lowest number of executions in about a decade. Most executions occurred in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Egypt . The United States is the only developed western country still using capital punishment. What does this say about the US? Here are five essays about the death penalty everyone should read:

“When We Kill”

By: Nicholas Kristof | From: The New York Times 2019

In this excellent essay, Pulitizer-winner Nicholas Kristof explains how he first became interested in the death penalty. He failed to write about a man on death row in Texas. The man, Cameron Todd Willingham, was executed in 2004. Later evidence showed that the crime he supposedly committed – lighting his house on fire and killing his three kids – was more likely an accident. In “When We Kill,” Kristof puts preconceived notions about the death penalty under the microscope. These include opinions such as only guilty people are executed, that those guilty people “deserve” to die, and the death penalty deters crime and saves money. Based on his investigations, Kristof concludes that they are all wrong.

Nicholas Kristof has been a Times columnist since 2001. He’s the winner of two Pulitizer Prices for his coverage of China and the Darfur genocide.

“An Inhumane Way of Death”

By: Willie Jasper Darden, Jr.

Willie Jasper Darden, Jr. was on death row for 14 years. In his essay, he opens with the line, “Ironically, there is probably more hope on death row than would be found in most other places.” He states that everyone is capable of murder, questioning if people who support capital punishment are just as guilty as the people they execute. Darden goes on to say that if every murderer was executed, there would be 20,000 killed per day. Instead, a person is put on death row for something like flawed wording in an appeal. Darden feels like he was picked at random, like someone who gets a terminal illness. This essay is important to read as it gives readers a deeper, more personal insight into death row.

Willie Jasper Darden, Jr. was sentenced to death in 1974 for murder. During his time on death row, he advocated for his innocence and pointed out problems with his trial, such as the jury pool that excluded black people. Despite worldwide support for Darden from public figures like the Pope, Darden was executed in 1988.

“We Need To Talk About An Injustice”

By: Bryan Stevenson | From: TED 2012

This piece is a transcript of Bryan Stevenson’s 2012 TED talk, but we feel it’s important to include because of Stevenson’s contributions to criminal justice. In the talk, Stevenson discusses the death penalty at several points. He points out that for years, we’ve been taught to ask the question, “Do people deserve to die for their crimes?” Stevenson brings up another question we should ask: “Do we deserve to kill?” He also describes the American death penalty system as defined by “error.” Somehow, society has been able to disconnect itself from this problem even as minorities are disproportionately executed in a country with a history of slavery.

Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author. He’s argued in courts, including the Supreme Court, on behalf of the poor, minorities, and children. A film based on his book Just Mercy was released in 2019 starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

“I Know What It’s Like To Carry Out Executions”

By: S. Frank Thompson | From: The Atlantic 2019

In the death penalty debate, we often hear from the family of the victims and sometimes from those on death row. What about those responsible for facilitating an execution? In this opinion piece, a former superintendent from the Oregon State Penitentiary outlines his background. He carried out the only two executions in Oregon in the past 55 years, describing it as having a “profound and traumatic effect” on him. In his decades working as a correctional officer, he concluded that the death penalty is not working . The United States should not enact federal capital punishment.

Frank Thompson served as the superintendent of OSP from 1994-1998. Before that, he served in the military and law enforcement. When he first started at OSP, he supported the death penalty. He changed his mind when he observed the protocols firsthand and then had to conduct an execution.

“There Is No Such Thing As Closure on Death Row”

By: Paul Brown | From: The Marshall Project 2019

This essay is from Paul Brown, a death row inmate in Raleigh, North Carolina. He recalls the moment of his sentencing in a cold courtroom in August. The prosecutor used the term “closure” when justifying a death sentence. Who is this closure for? Brown theorizes that the prosecutors are getting closure as they end another case, but even then, the cases are just a way to further their careers. Is it for victims’ families? Brown is doubtful, as the death sentence is pursued even when the families don’t support it. There is no closure for Brown or his family as they wait for his execution. Vivid and deeply-personal, this essay is a must-read for anyone who wonders what it’s like inside the mind of a death row inmate.

Paul Brown has been on death row since 2000 for a double murder. He is a contributing writer to Prison Writers and shares essays on topics such as his childhood, his life as a prisoner, and more.

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About the author, emmaline soken-huberty.

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.

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student opinion

Should the Death Penalty Be Abolished?

In its last six months, the United States government has put 13 prisoners to death. Do you think capital punishment should end?

introduction essay death penalty

By Nicole Daniels

Students in U.S. high schools can get free digital access to The New York Times until Sept. 1, 2021.

In July, the United States carried out its first federal execution in 17 years. Since then, the Trump administration has executed 13 inmates, more than three times as many as the federal government had in the previous six decades.

The death penalty has been abolished in 22 states and 106 countries, yet it is still legal at the federal level in the United States. Does your state or country allow the death penalty?

Do you believe governments should be allowed to execute people who have been convicted of crimes? Is it ever justified, such as for the most heinous crimes? Or are you universally opposed to capital punishment?

In “ ‘Expedited Spree of Executions’ Faced Little Supreme Court Scrutiny ,” Adam Liptak writes about the recent federal executions:

In 2015, a few months before he died, Justice Antonin Scalia said he w o uld not be surprised if the Supreme Court did away with the death penalty. These days, after President Trump’s appointment of three justices, liberal members of the court have lost all hope of abolishing capital punishment. In the face of an extraordinary run of federal executions over the past six months, they have been left to wonder whether the court is prepared to play any role in capital cases beyond hastening executions. Until July, there had been no federal executions in 17 years . Since then, the Trump administration has executed 13 inmates, more than three times as many as the federal government had put to death in the previous six decades.

The article goes on to explain that Justice Stephen G. Breyer issued a dissent on Friday as the Supreme Court cleared the way for the last execution of the Trump era, complaining that it had not sufficiently resolved legal questions that inmates had asked. The article continues:

If Justice Breyer sounded rueful, it was because he had just a few years ago held out hope that the court would reconsider the constitutionality of capital punishment. He had set out his arguments in a major dissent in 2015 , one that must have been on Justice Scalia’s mind when he made his comments a few months later. Justice Breyer wrote in that 46-page dissent that he considered it “highly likely that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment,” which bars cruel and unusual punishments. He said that death row exonerations were frequent, that death sentences were imposed arbitrarily and that the capital justice system was marred by racial discrimination. Justice Breyer added that there was little reason to think that the death penalty deterred crime and that long delays between sentences and executions might themselves violate the Eighth Amendment. Most of the country did not use the death penalty, he said, and the United States was an international outlier in embracing it. Justice Ginsburg, who died in September, had joined the dissent. The two other liberals — Justices Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — were undoubtedly sympathetic. And Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who held the decisive vote in many closely divided cases until his retirement in 2018, had written the majority opinions in several 5-to-4 decisions that imposed limits on the death penalty, including ones barring the execution of juvenile offenders and people convicted of crimes other than murder .

In the July Opinion essay “ The Death Penalty Can Ensure ‘Justice Is Being Done,’ ” Jeffrey A. Rosen, then acting deputy attorney general, makes a legal case for capital punishment:

The death penalty is a difficult issue for many Americans on moral, religious and policy grounds. But as a legal issue, it is straightforward. The United States Constitution expressly contemplates “capital” crimes, and Congress has authorized the death penalty for serious federal offenses since President George Washington signed the Crimes Act of 1790. The American people have repeatedly ratified that decision, including through the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 signed by President Bill Clinton, the federal execution of Timothy McVeigh under President George W. Bush and the decision by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department to seek the death penalty against the Boston Marathon bomber and Dylann Roof.

Students, read the entire article , then tell us:

Do you support the use of capital punishment? Or do you think it should be abolished? Why?

Do you think the death penalty serves a necessary purpose, like deterring crime, providing relief for victims’ families or imparting justice? Or is capital punishment “cruel and unusual” and therefore prohibited by the Constitution? Is it morally wrong?

Are there alternatives to the death penalty that you think would be more appropriate? For example, is life in prison without the possibility of parole a sufficient sentence? Or is that still too harsh? What about restorative justice , an approach that “considers harm done and strives for agreement from all concerned — the victims, the offender and the community — on making amends”? What other ideas do you have?

Vast racial disparities in the administration of the death penalty have been found. For example, Black people are overrepresented on death row, and a recent study found that “defendants convicted of killing white victims were executed at a rate 17 times greater than those convicted of killing Black victims.” Does this information change or reinforce your opinion of capital punishment? How so?

The Federal Death Penalty Act prohibits the government from executing an inmate who is mentally disabled; however, in the recent executions of Corey Johnson , Alfred Bourgeois and Lisa Montgomery , their defense teams, families and others argued that they had intellectual disabilities. What role do you think disability or trauma history should play in how someone is punished, or rehabilitated, after committing a crime?

How concerned should we be about wrongfully convicted people being executed? The Innocence Project has proved the innocence of 18 people on death row who were exonerated by DNA testing. Do you have worries about the fair application of the death penalty, or about the possibility of the criminal justice system executing an innocent person?

About Student Opinion

• Find all of our Student Opinion questions in this column . • Have an idea for a Student Opinion question? Tell us about it . • Learn more about how to use our free daily writing prompts for remote learning .

Students 13 and older in the United States and the United Kingdom, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

Nicole Daniels joined The Learning Network as a staff editor in 2019 after working in museum education, curriculum writing and bilingual education. More about Nicole Daniels

The Death Penalty Essay, with Outline

Published by gudwriter on May 24, 2018 May 24, 2018

Ready for a death penalty essay? Take a look at this informational resource featuring an outline, APA style format and a list of references.

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Most students will agree that there are certain periods that they find much more interesting than others. What you really need is a history homework helper with immeasurable knowledge on this type of essays. Here is an example of a sample of death penalty.

Death Penalty Essay Outline

Introduction.

Thesis: The death penalty should be abolished because it is not one of the best methods of punishing criminals and addressing crime.

Paragraph 1:  

Capital punishment is not an effective way of deterring crime contrary to arguments of those who support it.

  • It lacks the deterrent effect to which its advocates commonly refer.
  • “There is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty”
  • An increasing number of law professionals are seriously questioning the effectiveness of the penalty in preventing crime.

Paragraph 2:

The penalty is not in order because there is no humane way to kill.

  • In 2006, a lethal injection was used to execute Angel Nieves Diaz.
  • It took a whopping 34 minutes and was administered in two doses.
  • According to doctors’ opinion, it is likely that Diaz underwent a painful death.

Paragraph 3:  

The penalty makes a public spectacle out of the death of an individual.

  • Victims are often executed in a manner that is extremely public.
  • There is no legitimate purpose served by public executions which only increases the punishment’s degrading, inhuman, and cruel nature.
  • Executions “carried out publicly are a gross affront to human dignity which cannot be tolerated.”

Paragraph 4:

The penalty does not apply fairly to all criminals as some people are left sentenced to death due to poor quality defense.

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel is one of the factors that frequently cause reversals in death penalty cases.
  • Whether or not one gets the death sentence largely lies in their ability to afford high quality defense.

Paragraph 5:

The death penalty cannot be taken back once it is executed.

  • People may end up paying for crimes they never committed are a result of absolute judgments.
  • A Texas man was found innocent after being executed.
  • Criminal justice systems should apply punishment methods that allow for the setting free of individuals should further evidence prove them innocent after they are punished.

Paragraph 6: 

Capital punishment is also overly controversial in terms of its ethicality and morality, in light of the Consequentialist Ethical Framework.

  • As per this framework, an action passes the ethical test only if it yields the best consequences for everyone.
  • In capital punishment, a person is killed with the apparent hope that his or her death will serve justice to the offended.
  • From the Consequentialist Ethical Framework angle, this may not be the case.

The death penalty does not address crime effectively as it is purported to. Instead, it tramples upon the human right of undergoing a dignified death and dying peacefully and out of public’s attention.

The Death Penalty Essay Example

The death penalty is one criminal justice area that has attracted a serious debate about whether or not it should be abolished. The penalty enjoys a strong support from the public as people believe that it serves to deter crime as criminals are afraid of dying just like other humans. However, those opposed to it believe that there are enough reasons to warrant its abolishment. For instance, they argue that it does not deter crime as it does not address what motivates people to act criminally. This paper argues that the death penalty should be abolished because it is not one of the best methods of punishing criminals and addressing crime.

Capital punishment is not an effective way of deterring crime contrary to arguments of those who support it. This is because it lacks the deterrent effect to which its advocates commonly refer. “As recently stated by the General Assembly of the United Nations, “there is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty”” (International Commission against Death Penalty, 2013). This is why a continuously increasing number of law professionals are seriously questioning the effectiveness of the penalty in preventing crime. It is wrongly assumed that one would not want to commit crime since it would possibly land them into the capital punishment. There is however no evidence to support this assumption. Even if one was to fear dying as is assumed here, they might choose to engage in crime that does not attract the death penalty.

The penalty is also not in order because there is no humane way to kill. In 2006 for instance, a lethal injection that was used to execute Angel Nieves Diaz and was deemed ‘humane’ took a whopping 34 minutes and was administered in two doses (Amnesty International Australia, 2018). According to doctors’ opinion on the case, it is likely that Diaz underwent a painful death and thus the procedure could not have been humane in any way. Other brutal execution methods used across the globe include beheading, shooting, and hanging. The nature of these deaths is such that they only continue to perpetuate the violence cycle. In addition, they add onto the pain the victims’ family would have already suffered upon a member of theirs being taken into custody.

Further, the penalty makes a public spectacle out of the death of an individual. Victims are often executed in a manner that is extremely public, with lethal injections live broadcasts in the United States or public hangings in Iran. UN human rights experts hold that there is no legitimate purpose served by public executions which according them, only increase the punishment’s degrading, inhuman, and cruel nature. According to Hadj Sahraoui, an Amnesty International official , executions “carried out publicly are a gross affront to human dignity which cannot be tolerated” (Amnesty International Australia, 2018). Normally, a human being should be allowed the right to die in a dignified manner and ‘privately’ so they may have peace during the transition. It is a right that not even law should take away.

Contrary to the death penalty proponents’ argument that it applies fairly to all criminals, this is not the case as some people are left sentenced to death due to poor quality defense. As observed by OADP (2018), ineffective assistance of counsel is one of the factors that frequently cause reversals in death penalty cases. “Columbia University found that 68% of all death penalty cases were reversed on appeal, with inadequate defense as one of the main reasons requiring reversal” (OADP, 2018). Thus, it follows that whether or not one gets the death sentence largely lies in their ability to afford high quality defense. This makes this punishment method unfair.

Further, the death penalty cannot be taken back once it is executed. People may end up paying for crimes they never committed are a result of absolute judgments. “Texas man Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly setting a fire that killed his three daughters” (Amnesty International Australia, 2018). However, it would later be revealed through evidence that he was not the one who set that fire. Mr. Willingham, an innocent citizen, had paid with his life a crime he never knew anything about nor committed. As is clear here, being declared innocent was of no use for him since it could not bring him back to life. As such, criminal justice systems should apply punishment methods that allow for the setting free of individuals should further evidence prove them innocent after they are punished.

Capital punishment is also overly controversial in terms of its ethicality and morality, in light of the Consequentialist Ethical Framework. As per this framework, an action passes the ethical test only if it yields the best consequences for everyone (Bonde, et al., 2013). The results of such an action should be such that those involved get the most good out of it. From the onset, it is the intent of any person using this framework to achieve results that would benefit all the people entangled in an ethical dilemma or issue. The framework is advantageous in the sense that it pragmatically focuses on the results of an action before the action is performed. It ensures nobody is treated unfairly in the aftermath of the action. In capital punishment, a person is killed with the apparent hope that his or her death will serve justice to the offended. From the Consequentialist Ethical Framework angle, this may not be the case.

The death penalty does not address crime effectively as it is purported to, and is also unethical. Instead, it tramples upon the human right of undergoing a dignified death and dying peacefully and out of public’s attention. There can never be a humane way to kill and no matter the crime one has committed, they should not be subjected to this painful process of dying. The punishment is also not fair as some people might while others might not afford to hire quality lawyers to defend them. Moreover, it cannot be taken back and this means once persecuted, one can never regain their innocence as well as their life.

Amnesty International Australia. (2018). “Five reasons to abolish the death penalty”. Amnesty International Australia . Retrieved May 20, 2018 from https://www.amnesty.org.au/5-reasons-abolish-death-penalty/#

Bonde, S., et al. (2013). “A framework for making ethical decisions”. Brow University . Retrieved July 3, 2020 from https://www.brown.edu/academics/science-and-technology-studies/framework-making-ethical-decisions .

International Commission against death penalty. (2013). “Why the death penalty should be abolished”. International Commission against Death Penalty . Retrieved May 20, 2018 from http://www.icomdp.org/arguments-against-the-death-penalty/

OADP. (2018). “The facts: 13 reasons to oppose the death penalty”. Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty . Retrieved May 20, 2018 from https://oadp.org/facts/13-reasons

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introduction essay death penalty

The Alliance for Citizen Engagement

INTRODUCTION TO THE DEATH PENALTY (1)

Individuals convicted of the death penalty are found guilty of capital crimes, most notably, murder, espionage, and treason. In the 1600s, the American colonies used the death penalty as a punishment for most serious crimes. By the 1800s, many began to oppose the death penalty because they felt that it was inhumane and unconstitutional. The 1972 U.S. Supreme Court Case Furman v. Georgia deemed the death penalty unconstitutional in it’s current state, and found that the legal process needed to be revised. This resulted in the emergence of the bifurcation procedure. The bifurcation procedure involves two trials. 

  • The guilt phase : A jury decides an individual’s guilt or innocence.
  • The penalty phase : Following the guilt phase, the jury receives additional information in the form of aggravating and mitigating circumstances that are meant to aid in deciding if the individual is deserving of death. Aggravating circumstances are situations or factors that increase the individual’s deservingness of death while mitigating circumstances are situations that decrease the individual’s deservingness of death.

The death penalty is considered a state issue. 27 states use the death penalty and 23 states do not. The U.S. government has imposed moratorium in three death penalty states. This means that the individuals can still be sentenced to death but primarily only in the case of severe crimes, like murder.

Alliance for Citizen Engagement

Source: ABC News

In 2020, 18 countries implemented the death penalty, but most executions were concentrated in a few countries , namely China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Egypt made up about 88% of executions . 

Arguments for the Death Penalty  

  • Deterrence : Death is notably the harshest punishment practiced by the criminal justice system.  It is seen as a general deterrence because it prevents individuals from committing capital crimes. Ernest van den Haag, a professor at Jurisprudence at Fordham University, studied the topic of deterrence in terms of the death penalty and believes that since death is the most feared event for most people, it must have some effect in deterring crime. Furthermore, the death penalty specfically deters any future crime because it takes away the criminal’s ability to commit crimes after they are dead.
  • Retribution : Those who support the death penalty from a retributionist perspective do so because they find that it serves the purpose of justice. If the death penalty did not exist as a punishment to those who commit capital offenses, they believe society would succumb to crime and violence. This perspective also supports Hammurabi’s code, or “an eye for an eye,” meaning that a crime will be equally matched with a punishment in which the criminal suffers the same pain as the victim. If an individual commits murder, he or she shall be put to death as punishment.

Arguments Against the Death Penalty

  • Rebuttal to retribution : The legal system cannot rely on emotional impulses for solving problems because it is not a sufficient justification, especially for such a serious form of punishment. The criminal justice system should be held to higher standards that reflect a prioritization of life. Reducing the reasoning of taking an individual’s life to an emotional aspect is dehumanizing and it acts as a reflection of the entire justice system, and not just a focus on capital crimes punishment. 
  • Innocence and wrongful convictions : There is strong evidence that proves some individuals have been wrongfully executed. According to the Execution Database , 185 people have been absolved from guilt and released from prison. Although some of the absolutions may have resulted from judicial and investigative errors, this number demonstrates the possibilty for error within the death penalty procedures.
  • Arbitrariness and Discrimination : Defendants of disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to receive the death penalty than other groups. Black individuals convicted of a capital crime are 4.3 times more likely to receive the death penalty than white people. Since 1976, 158 black individuals have been executed by the death penalty for the murder of a white victim while 11 white people were executed for the murder of a black victim. The death penalty does not execute the worst offenders, rather it executes those who have the poorest defense. Those who do not have the resources to afford a lawyer are assigned a public defense lawyer, who is usually juggling multiple cases and unable to strongly focus on a single case.  
  • Arbitrariness and Discrimination : Defendants of disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to receive the death penalty than other groups. Black individuals convicted of a capital crime are 4.3 times more likely to receive the death penalty than white people. Since 1976, 158 black individuals have been executed by the death penalty for the murder of a white victim while 11 white people were executed for the murder of a black victim. The death penalty does not execute tthe worst offenders, rather it executes those who have the poorest defense. Those who do not have the resources to afford a lawyer are assigned a public defense lawyer, who is usually juggling multiple cases and unable to strongly focus on a single one single case. 

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Deterrence and the Death Penalty (2012)

Chapter: 1 introduction.

Introduction

I n 1976 the Supreme Court decision Gregg v. Georgia (428 U.S. 153) ended the 4-year moratorium on executions that had resulted from its 1972 decision in Furman v. Georgia (408 U.S. 238) . In Furman the Court had ruled that the death penalty, as then administered in the United States, constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. Then, in Gregg , it had ruled that the death penalty is not, in all circumstances, cruel and unusual punishment, thereby opening the way for states to revise their capital punishment statutes to conform to the requirements of Gregg .

In the immediate aftermath of Gregg, a National Research Council report reviewed the evidence relating to the deterrent effect of the death penalty that had been published through the mid-1970s. That review was highly critical of the available research, concluding (1978, p. 9):

The flaws in the earlier analyses finding no effect and the sensitivity of the more recent analysis to minor variations in model specification and the serious temporal instability of the results lead the panel to conclude that available studies provide no useful evidence on the deterrent effect of capital punishment.

THE CURRENT DEBATE

During the 35 years since Gregg , and particularly in the past decade, many studies have renewed the attempt to estimate the effect of capital punishment on homicide rates. Most researchers have used post- Gregg data from the United States to examine the statistical association between

homicide rates and the legal status or the actual implementation of the death penalty.

The studies have reached widely varying, even contradictory, conclusions, and commentary on the findings has sometimes been acrimonious. Some researchers have concluded that deterrent effects are large and robust across datasets and model specifications. For example, Dezhbakhsh, Rubin, and Shepherd (2003, p. 344) concluded that:

Our results suggest that capital punishment has a strong deterrent effect; each execution results, on average, in eighteen fewer murders with a margin of error of plus or minus ten. Tests show that results are not driven by tougher sentencing laws and are robust to many alternative specifications.

Similarly, Mocan and Gittings (2003, p. 453) stated the following:

The results show that each additional execution decreases homicides by about five, and each additional commutation increases homicides by the same amount, while an additional removal from death row generates one additional murder.

In 2004 testimony before Congress, Shepherd (2004, p. 1) summarized this line of evidence on the deterrent effect of capital punishment as follows:

Recent research on the relationship between capital punishment and crime has created a strong consensus among economists that capital punishment deters crime.

However, the claims that the evidence shows a substantial deterrent effect have been vigorously challenged. Kovandzic, Vieraitis, and Boots (2009, p. 803) concluded that:

Employing well-known econometric procedures for panel data analysis, our results provide no empirical support for the argument that the existence or application of the death penalty deters prospective offenders from committing homicide … policymakers should refrain from justifying its use by claiming that it is a deterrent to homicide and should consider less costly, more effective ways of addressing crime.

Others do not go so far as to claim that there is no deterrent effect, but instead argue that the findings supporting a deterrent effect are fragile, not robust. Donohue and Wolfers (2005, p. 794) reanalyzed several of the data sets used by the authors who claimed to have found robust deterrent effects and concluded that:

We find that the existing evidence for deterrence is surprisingly fragile, and even small changes in specifications yield dramatically different re-

sults. Our key insight is that the death penalty—at least as it has been implemented in the United States since Gregg ended the moratorium on executions—is applied so rarely that the number of homicides it can plausibly have caused or deterred cannot be reliably disentangled from the large year-to year changes in the homicide rate caused by other factors.

Berk (2005, p. 328) reached a similar conclusion:

… the results raise serious questions about whether anything useful about the deterrent value of the death penalty can ever be learned from an observational study with the data that are likely to be available.

Not surprisingly, the criticisms of the research claiming to have found deterrent effects have generated defenses of the research findings and the methodologies used, as well as counterclaims about the deficiencies in the methods used by the critics. For instance, in response to the Kovandzic, Vieraitis, and Boots (2009) claim of no deterrent effect, Rubin (2009, p. 858) argued that:

the weight of the evidence as well as the theoretical predictions both argue for deterrence, and econometrically flawed studies such as this article are insufficient to overthrow this presumption.

In response to Donohue and Wolfers (2005, 2009), Zimmerman (2009, p. 396) argued that:

This paper shows that many of D&W’s [Donohue and Wolfers] criticisms of Zimmerman’s original work do not hold up under scrutiny, and other authors have also rebutted D&W’s criticisms of their research.

Beyond disagreement about whether the research evidence shows a deterrent effect of capital punishment, some researchers claim to have found a brutalization effect from state-sanctioned executions such that capital punishment actually increases homicide rates (see, e.g., Cochran and Chamlin, 2000; Thomson, 1999). Evidence in support of a brutalization effect is mostly the work of sociologists, but it is notable that in her latter work Shepherd also concluded that brutalization effects may be present (Shepherd, 2005).

COMMITTEE CHARGE AND SCOPE OF WORK

The Committee on Deterrence and the Death Penalty was organized against this backdrop of conflicting claims about the effect of capital punishment on homicide rates, with the following charge:

This study will assess the evidence on the deterrent effect of the death penalty—whether the threat of execution prevents homicides. The focus will be on studies completed since an earlier National Research Council assessment (National Research Council, 1978). A major objective of this study is to evaluate underlying reasons for the differing conclusions in more recent empirical studies about the effects of the legal status and actual practice of the death penalty on criminal homicide rates. The committee will develop a report about what can be concluded from these studies and also draw conclusions about the potential for future work to improve upon the quality of existing evidence.

Issues and questions to be examined include the following:

1.   Does the available evidence provide a reasonable basis for drawing conclusions about the magnitude of capital punishment’s effect on homicide rates?

2.   Are there differences among the extant analyses that provide a basis for resolving the differences in findings? Are the differences in findings due to inherent limitations in the data? Are there existing statistical methods and/or theoretical perspectives that have yet to be applied that can better address the deterrence question? Are the limitations of existing evidence reflective of a lack of information about the social, economic, and political underpinnings of homicide rates and/or the administration of capital punishment that first must be resolved before the deterrent effect of capital punishment can be determined?

3.   Do potential remedies to shortcomings in the evidence on the deterrent effect of capital punishment have broader applicability for research on the deterrent effect of noncapital sanctions?

In addressing those questions, we focused on the studies that have been undertaken since the earlier assessment (National Research Council, 1978). That assessment has stood largely unchallenged: none of the recent work, whatever its conclusion regarding deterrence, relies on the earlier studies criticized in that report or attempts to rehabilitate the value of those studies.

It is important to make clear what is not in the committee’s charge. Deterrence is but one of many considerations relevant to deciding whether the death penalty is good public policy. Not all supporters of capital punishment base their argument on deterrent effects, and not all opponents would be affected by persuasive evidence of such effects. The case for capital punishment is sometimes based on normative retributive arguments that the death penalty is the only appropriate and proportional response to especially heinous crimes; the case against it is sometimes based on

similarly normative claims that the sanctity of human life precludes state-sanctioned killings, regardless of any possible social benefits of capital punishment. Separate from normative considerations, deterrence is not the only empirical issue relevant to the debate over capital punishment. Other considerations include whether capital punishment can be administered in a nondiscriminatory and consistent fashion, whether the risk of a mistaken execution of an innocent person is acceptably small, and the cost of administering the death penalty in comparison with other sanction alternatives.

Although there is empirical evidence on the issues of discrimination, mistakes, and cost, the charge to the committee does not include these questions. Nor have we been charged with rendering an overall judgment on whether capital punishment is good public policy. We have been tasked only with assessing the scientific quality of the post- Gregg evidence on the deterrent effect of capital punishment and making recommendations for improving the scientific quality and policy relevance of future research.

In including recommendations for future research, the study’s statement of task recognized that potential remedies to shortcomings in the evidence on the deterrent effect of capital punishment on homicide might also be used in the study of the crime prevention effects of noncapital sanctions. Thus, this report also offers recommendations for improving the scientific quality and policy relevance of that research.

The post- Gregg studies can be divided into two types on the basis of the type of data analyzed. Panel data studies analyze sets of states or counties measured over time, usually from about 1970 to 2000. These studies relate homicide rates over time and the jurisdictions covered to the legal status of capital punishment or the frequency of executions or both. Time-series studies generally cover only a single geographic unit, which may be as large as a nation or as small as a city. These studies usually examine whether there are short-term changes in homicide rates in that geographic unit in the aftermath of an execution. We review and critique these two types of studies separately because their design and statistical methods are quite different.

Assessing the deterrent effect of the death penalty is much more than a question of interest to social science research. It is a matter of importance to U.S. society at large, and we expect that a potentially broad audience will want to understand how the committee reached its conclusions. Yet the research that the committee has had to appraise is a body of formal empirical work that makes use of highly technical concepts and techniques. The committee has been mindful of the importance of reaching as broad an audience as possible while meeting the fundamental requirement that the report be scientifically grounded. With this in mind, Chapters 1 , 2 , and 3 (as well as the summary) have been written for a broad, largely policy audience, largely avoiding technical language. In contrast, Chapters 4 and

5 include some exposition and analyses that are aimed for the researchers in the field.

Chapter 2 summarizes homicide rates and the legal status and practice of execution in the United States from 1950 to the present. Chapter 3 provides an overview of the possible mechanisms by which the legal status and practice of execution might affect homicide rates and also provides a nontechnical primer on some of the key challenges to making valid inferences about the deterrent effect of the death penalty. Chapters 4 and 5 review and assess the panel and time-series studies, respectively. Chapter 6 elaborates on the theoretical and statistical challenges to drawing valid conclusions about the deterrent effect of the death penalty, and presents our conclusions and recommendations for future research.

Berk, R. (2005). New claims about executions and general deterrence: Déjà vu all over again? Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 2 (2), 303-330.

Cochran, J.K., and Chamlin, M.B. (2000). Deterrence and brutalization: The dual effects of executions. Justice Quarterly, 17 (4), 685-706.

Dezhbakhsh, H., Rubin, P.H., and Shepherd, J.M. (2003). Does capital punishment have a deterrent effect? New evidence from postmoratorium panel data. American Law and Economics Review, 5 (2), 344-376.

Donohue, J.J., and Wolfers, J. (2005). Uses and abuses of empirical evidence in the death penalty debate. Stanford Law Review, 58 (3), 791-845.

Donohue, J.J., and Wolfers, J. (2009). Estimating the impact of the death penalty on murder. American Law and Economics Review, 11 (2), 249-309.

Kovandzic, T.V., Vieraitis, L.M., and Boots, D.P. (2009). Does the death penalty save lives? Criminology & Public Policy, 8 (4), 803-843.

Mocan, H.N., and Gittings, R.K. (2003). Getting off death row: Commuted sentences and the deterrent effect of capital punishment. Journal of Law & Economics, 46 (2), 453-478.

National Research Council. (1978). Deterrence and Incapacitation: Estimating the Effects of Criminal Sanctions on Crime Rates . Panel on Research on Deterrent and Incapacitative Effects, A. Blumstein, J. Cohen, and D. Nagin (Eds.). Committee on Research on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Assembly of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Rubin, P.H. (2009). Don’t scrap the death penalty. Criminology & Public Policy, 8 (4), 853-859.

Shepherd, J.M. (2004). Testimony on Crime and Deterrence: Hearing on H.R. 2934, the Terrorist Penalties Enhancement Act of 2003 . Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, House Judiciary Committee. Available: http://judiciary.house.gov/legacy/shepherd042104.pdf [January 2012].

Shepherd, J.M. (2005). Deterrence versus brutalization: Capital punishment’s differing impacts among states. Michigan Law Review, 104 (2), 203-255.

Thomson, E. (1999). Effects of an execution on homicides in California. Homicide Studies, 3 (2), 129-150.

Zimmerman, P.R. (2009). Statistical variability and the deterrent effect of the death penalty. American Law and Economics Review, 11 (2), 370-398.

Many studies during the past few decades have sought to determine whether the death penalty has any deterrent effect on homicide rates. Researchers have reached widely varying, even contradictory, conclusions. Some studies have concluded that the threat of capital punishment deters murders, saving large numbers of lives; other studies have concluded that executions actually increase homicides; still others, that executions have no effect on murder rates. Commentary among researchers, advocates, and policymakers on the scientific validity of the findings has sometimes been acrimonious.

Against this backdrop, the National Research Council report Deterrence and the Death Penalty assesses whether the available evidence provides a scientific basis for answering questions of if and how the death penalty affects homicide rates. This new report from the Committee on Law and Justice concludes that research to date on the effect of capital punishment on homicide rates is not useful in determining whether the death penalty increases, decreases, or has no effect on these rates. The key question is whether capital punishment is less or more effective as a deterrent than alternative punishments, such as a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Yet none of the research that has been done accounted for the possible effect of noncapital punishments on homicide rates. The report recommends new avenues of research that may provide broader insight into any deterrent effects from both capital and noncapital punishments.

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The Death Penalty: Arguments and Alternative Solutions

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Introduction, background information on the death penalty, arguments in favor of the death penalty, arguments against the death penalty, counterarguments and rebuttals, alternative solutions.

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introduction essay death penalty

1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

Philosophy, One Thousand Words at a Time

The Death Penalty

Author: Benjamin S. Yost Category:  Ethics , Social and Political Philosophy Word Count: 992

The death penalty—executing criminals, usually murderers—is more controversial than imprisonment because it inflicts a more significant injury, perhaps the most serious injury, and its effects are irreversible. [1]

Some advocates of the death penalty, or capital punishment , argue that it is justified because murder is so bad that death is the only appropriate response. Others defend capital punishment on the grounds that it has important benefits for society.

This essay surveys both types of arguments and critical responses.

The “death chamber” at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit.

1. Deontological Justifications

Deontological defenses of capital punishment see execution as a morally “fitting” response to murderers’ horrible deeds. [2] There are two main varieties.

1.1. Retributivist Justifications

The idea that punishments should be equal in severity to their crimes underlies retributivist defenses of capital punishment. Retributivists argue that execution is justified because it matches the badness or wrongness of murder—i.e., it is a proportionate punishment for murder. [3]

How is proportionality established? “Eye for an eye” principles suggest that execution is proportional to murder because it involves the same kind of act (killing). [4] More sophisticated approaches begin with the idea that life is uniquely valuable: it is the precondition of everything else good for someone. Because being murdered prevents the victim from having any valuable experiences, murderers are punished too lightly if they can enjoy even the limited goods life in prison allows. [5]

1.2. Purgative Justifications

Some argue for a duty to purge exceptionally evil offenders from society by executing them. [6] On this view, the continued existence of such offenders morally stains society: by expending resources on them, society takes on responsibility for their violation of human dignity. Execution dissolves that responsibility. [7]

2. Consequentialist Justifications

Many defend the death penalty not as a response to criminals for their past evil deeds, but by arguing that executing murderers produces better overall social consequences than not doing so. [8] Two consequences are frequently discussed.

2.1. Deterrence

Common sense suggests that the fear of being executed prevents, or deters , potential murderers from killing. For deterrent justifications of capital punishment, the beneficial consequences of executions—innocent lives saved—outweigh the costs to the legal system and the executed person. [9]

2.2. Incapacitation

Deterrence is about reducing murder rates overall. Incapacitation aims at preventing specific offenders from reoffending: some murderers might be so dangerous, only death ensures they won’t kill again. [10]

3. Criticisms of Deontological  Justifications

Let’s consider some objections to the above arguments.

“Eye for an eye” retributivism seems to mandate immoral punishments like raping rapists or torturing torturers.

Proportionality-based retributivism also faces challenges. Capital punishment is sometimes judged to be disproportionately harsh because murderers suffer from prison time, from knowing their execution date, and from losing their lives, whereas murder victims only lose their lives. [11] More often, critics argue that life in prison, the longest sentence possible, is just as proportionate as execution and less morally controversial. [12]

4. Criticisms of Consequentialist Justifications

Deterrence theorists presume that execution is more “persuasive” than imprisonment. But researchers have found no evidence of execution’s marginal deterrent effect—i.e., a deterrent impact on murder rates exceeding that of imprisonment . [13] It is not enough for proponents to show that execution deters murder. Execution must deter murder better than imprisonment for its costs to be justified. [14]

An objection to both theories is that they permit punishing people for actions they didn’t perform. [15] Most believe that only those guilty of criminal acts should be punished. But deterrence theories could allow executing the innocent: if executing an innocent person would prevent future murders and authorities could keep her innocence secret, the benefits would plausibly outweigh the costs and deterrence theories would support killing her. [16] And incapacitation theories punish offenders for what they might do in the future, rather than any wrongs actually committed. [17]

5. General Objections to Capital Punishment

Death penalty abolitionists raise a number of general objections to capital punishment. 

5.1. The Right to Life

Abolitionists argue that execution violates murderers’ inviolable right to life.

Advocates respond that offenders forfeit their right to life by committing murder. And assertions of an absolute right to life have the implausible consequence of prohibiting killing in justified self-defense.

5.2. Dignity

Dignity arguments against capital punishment focus on whatever basic human capacity (e.g., rationality) imparts dignity , that in virtue of which persons are owed respect. Actions that violate dignity, like torture, are widely condemned. Abolitionists argue that because execution destroys the capacity for dignity, it violates dignity and is thus immoral.

Advocates question whether eliminating the condition of some valuable feature actually offends against that feature: e.g., killing people annihilates their ability to practice religion, yet it’s odd to characterize execution as violating religious freedom.

5.3. Procedural Problems

Capital punishment is often rejected on account of flaws in the legal procedures leading to death sentences. Some reject the death penalty in practice for these procedural reasons, even though they believe it is justified in theory .

5.3.1. Arbitrariness

In the U.S., capital juries may sentence a convicted murderer to life in prison, instead of execution, for almost any reason whatsoever. There is little consistency in who is sentenced to death and who is sent to prison, and so the death penalty is condemned as being intolerably arbitrary. [18]

5.3.2. Discrimination

One pattern in capital sentencing is that those who murder white people are more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murder black people (blacks who murder whites are the most likely to face execution). [19] It can seem deeply unfair, if not racist, for the likelihood of a death sentence to depend on racial factors. [20]

Death penalty advocates respond by insisting that what an individual murderer deserves is unaffected by how other murderers are treated. They add that arbitrariness and discrimination are reasons to reform , not abolish, sentencing procedures.

5.3.3. Irrevocability

If someone is wrongly executed—either because she is innocent, or subject to procedural injustice at trial—there is no way to right the wrong. Some abolitionists argue that because a just state is obliged to undo its serious mistakes, it mustn’t impose irrevocable punishments like the death penalty. [21], [22]  

6. Conclusion

Retributivist justifications dominate contemporary politics, but have recently suffered some legislative defeats to proceduralist arguments. [23] Determining whether practical worries about capital punishment trump concerns about potentially treating murders too leniently is thus of great legal and moral significance.

[1] For a general introduction to the debates about what justifies punishments in general and what makes particular punishments appropriate, see Theories of Punishment by Travis Joseph Rodgers.

In the U.S., twenty-nine states, the federal government, and the military allow for the death penalty. State and federal death rows are populated solely by murderers and accomplices to murder. Some states and the federal government permit execution for treason and other crimes, but these laws have never been tested in court.

Fifty-five other countries permit capital punishment, while more than one hundred nations have abolished it or no longer use it. In countries with an active death penalty, death-eligible crimes include kidnapping, drug trafficking, treason, and sexual immorality. For detailed information on capital punishment by U.S. state and country , see the Death Penalty Information Center .

[2] Deontologists see murder as the only crime for which capital punishment is appropriate, because murder is uniquely bad, and so only murderers deserve death.

[3] Proportionality is sometimes called commensurability . Some retributivists claim that proportionate punishments are justified because they give wrongdoers what they deserve.

[4] The “eye for an eye” principle is called the lex talionis. The most famous lex talionis defense of the death penalty can be found in Immanuel Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, vi: 332–333. For more on Kant’s view, see Yost (2010). For an introduction to Kant’s ethics see Deontology: Kantian Ethics by Andrew Chapman.

[5] Sorell (1993).

[6] The purgative rationale applies only to extraordinarily evil offenders, not to garden-variety first-degree murderers (Kramer 2011). That is, it applies only to people like Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, who in 2012 shot to death twenty six- and seven-year old students and six school staff.

[7] These purgative theorists regard executing evil offenders as morally obligatory , whereas retributivists typically consider it merely permissible .

[8] See Shane Gronholz’s Consequentialism for discussion of the ethical theory known as “consequentialism” that these arguments often depend on.

[9] John Stuart Mill defends capital punishment in these terms (1868).

[10] This rationale best applies to countries other than the U.S., which has invested in technologically advanced maximum-security prison divisions, where inmates are (inhumanely) restricted to solitary confinement and under constant supervision.

[11] Camus (1963).

[12] Bedau (2002); Finkelstein (2002). Critics of retributivism as a general theory of punishment often raise a related objection: it is hard to know how much punishment to assign to a given offense. Does armed robbery merit a year in jail? A year and a month? A year and one hundred days? 

[13] State of the art research neither establishes nor disproves a marginal deterrent effect; see Nagin and Pepper (2012).

[14] Although the cost varies from state to state, the price for executing a murderer in the U.S. is always higher than keeping him in prison for life.

[15] Pure deterrence theories can be contrasted with two-level theories. Two-level theories of punishment endorse deterrence as the general justifying aim of punishment, but maintain that the determination of who and how much to punish is governed by retributive principles (see, e.g., Hart 1968). These views sidestep the innocence objection, but inherit the problems of deontological approaches.

[16] A related worry is that deterrence theories condone execution for crimes far less serious than murder: if executing one or two burglars would eliminate property crimes, deterrence rationales might allow such a punishment.

[17] See, e.g., Nadelhoffer, et al . (2012).

[18] See Justice Blackmun’s dissent in Callins v. Collins . For a more philosophical approach, see Nathanson (2001).

[19] Poor people are more likely to be executed than well-off people, though the research on this comparison is scant. But when we consider that litigating capital cases is difficult and time-consuming, and poor defendants must rely on overworked public defenders, many of whom have no experience with capital trials, the consequences seem clear. For harrowing stories of how bad lawyering leads to death sentences, see Bright (1994).

[20] Cholbi (2006).

[21] Yost (2019).

[22] The irrevocability of execution is, however, philosophically controversial. Davis argues that authorities can compensate a wrongly executed person by advancing her interests or values (1984). For example, the state could send her son to college or donate five million dollars to her favorite charity. Davis concludes that compensation of this sort counts as revoking the wrongful execution.

[23] For example, in 2018 the Washington Supreme Court struck down the death penalty , citing its arbitrary and discriminatory nature.

Callins v . Collins . 510 U.S. 1141. U.S. Supreme Court, 1994.

Bedau, Hugo (2002). “The Minimal Invasion Argument against the Death Penalty.” Criminal Justice Ethics 21 (2): 3-8.

Bright, Steven (1994). “Council for the Poor: the Death Penalty Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer.” Yale Law Journal 103 (7): 1835-83.

Camus, Albert (1963). “Reflections on the Guillotine.” Resistance, Rebellion, and Death. New York: Modern Library.

Cholbi, Michael (2006). “Race, Capital Punishment, and the Cost of Murder.” Philosophical Studies 127: 255-282.

Davis, Michael (1984). “Is the Death Penalty Irrevocable?” Social Theory and Practice 10 (2): 143-156.

Finkelstein, Claire (2002). “Death and Retribution.” Criminal Justice Ethics 21 (2): 12-21.

Hart, H.L.A. (1968). Punishment and Responsibility: Essays in Legal Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kramer, Matthew (2011). The Ethics of Capital Punishment: A Philosophical Investigation of Evil and Its Consequences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mill, John Stuart (1868). “Speech in Favor of Capital Punishment.”

Nagin, Daniel, and John Pepper (2012). “Deterrence and the Death Penalty.” National Research Council. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Nadelhoffer, Thomas, et al. (2012). “Neuroprediction, Violence, and the Law: Setting the Stage.” Neuroethics 5 (1): 67-99.

Nathanson, Stephen (2001). An Eye for an Eye : The Immorality of Punishing by Death. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Sorell, Tom (1993). “Aggravated Murder and Capital Punishment.” Journal of Applied Philosophy 10 (2): 201-213.

Yost, Benjamin S. (2010). “Kant’s Justification of the Death Penalty Reconsidered.” Kantian Review 15 (2): 1-27.

Yost, Benjamin S. (2019). Against Capital Punishment. New York: Oxford University Press.

For Further Reading

Hoag, Robert. “Capital Punishment.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy .

Related Essays

Theories of Punishment by Travis Joseph Rodgers

Is Death Bad? Epicurus and Lucretius on the Fear of Death by Frederik Kaufman

Deontology: Kantian Ethics by Andrew Chapman

Consequentialism by Shane Gronholz

Philosophy and Race: An Introduction to Philosophy of Race  by Thomas Metcalf

Philosophy of Law: An Overview  by Mark Satta

Moral Luck  by Jonathan Spelman

Hell and Universalism  by A.G. Holdier 

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Benjamin S. Yost is Professor of Philosophy at Providence College and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Cornell University. His specializations include the philosophy of punishment and Kant’s practical philosophy. His book Against Capital Punishment was published by Oxford University Press (2019), and he has a co-edited volume titled The Movement for Black Lives: Philosophical Perspectives forthcoming from Oxford. His papers appear in journals such as Utilitas, Journal of the American Philosophical Association, Kantian Review, and Continental Philosophy Review . www.benjaminsyost.net

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Argumentative Essay on Death Penalty

The death penalty, a practice as old as civilization itself, remains one of the most polarizing issues in contemporary society. Proponents argue for its necessity as a deterrent against heinous crimes, while opponents decry its ethical implications and irreversible consequences. This argumentative essay on death penalty stands against this capital punishment.   Join us as we navigate through the complexities of the death penalty in this thought-provoking exploration of its drawbacks.

See 40 argumentative essay topics for sixth graders here.

Introduction: Argumentative Essay on Death Penalty

The death penalty, a contentious issue that has sparked debates worldwide, remains a deeply divisive topic. Historically, societies have implemented capital punishment as a means of deterring crime and delivering justice for the most heinous offenses. However, as we delve deeper into the complexities surrounding this practice, it becomes evident that the moral, ethical, and practical implications of the death penalty are far from clear-cut. Despite its purported benefits, I firmly believe that the death penalty should be abolished due to its inherent flaws, the risk of wrongful convictions, and its failure to serve as an effective deterrent.

Body Paragraphs: Argumentative Essay on Death Penalty

Firstly, the death penalty is irreversible, rendering it an unforgiving and irreparable form of punishment. In cases where innocent individuals are wrongfully convicted, there is no possibility of rectifying the grave miscarriage of justice once the sentence has been carried out. The fallibility of the legal system, marked by instances of flawed evidence, biased judgments, and inadequate legal representation, underscores the inherent risk of executing innocent individuals. Furthermore, the moral ramifications of state-sanctioned killing are profound, as it perpetuates a cycle of violence and vengeance rather than fostering a society built on principles of empathy and rehabilitation.

Secondly, the death penalty disproportionately affects marginalized and vulnerable populations, perpetuating systemic injustices within the criminal justice system. Studies have consistently shown that race, socioeconomic status, and geographic location play significant roles in determining who receives the death penalty, highlighting systemic biases and inequalities. The intersection of race and capital punishment reveals a stark reality: individuals from racial minority groups are more likely to be sentenced to death than their white counterparts, further exacerbating existing disparities within society.

Thirdly, the argument that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to crime lacks empirical support and fails to withstand scrutiny. Numerous studies have failed to establish a causal link between the existence of the death penalty and reductions in crime rates. In fact, countries that have abolished the death penalty often exhibit lower crime rates than those that retain it, suggesting that alternative approaches to crime prevention and rehabilitation yield more effective outcomes. Rather than investing in punitive measures that perpetuate cycles of violence, society should prioritize evidence-based strategies that address the root causes of crime and promote rehabilitation and social reintegration.

Counterargument and Refutation: Argumentative Essay on Death Penalty

Some proponents of the death penalty argue that it provides closure and justice for the victims’ families, offering a sense of vindication and retribution. However, this argument fails to acknowledge the complexities of grief and healing, as the death penalty neither alleviates the pain of loss nor addresses the underlying trauma experienced by victims’ loved ones. Moreover, the pursuit of vengeance through state-sanctioned killing only perpetuates a cycle of violence, hindering the potential for genuine reconciliation and healing within communities.

In conclusion, the death penalty represents a fundamentally flawed and morally untenable form of punishment that should be abolished. Its irreversible nature, propensity for injustice, and failure to deter crime underscore the urgent need for alternative approaches to criminal justice. By prioritizing principles of fairness, equity, and rehabilitation, society can move towards a more compassionate and just system that upholds the inherent dignity and value of every individual. It is time to consign the death penalty to the annals of history and embrace a future guided by principles of compassion, forgiveness, and human rights.

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84 Capital Punishment Essay Topics & Examples

If you’ve looked for capital punishment essay topics, you’re in luck! Below, our experts have collected some death penalty title ideas and samples for your paper.

📝 Capital Punishment Essay Writing Tips

✔️ top death penalty title ideas, 🏆 best death penalty essay titles & examples, 💡 most interesting death penalty topics to write about, ❓ capital punishment research questions.

Capital punishment has been a debatable issue for decades. Some people believe that the death penalty plays a crucial role in the criminal justice system, while others think that this procedure is highly unethical.

An essay on capital punishment may be a challenging assignment because students should know much about the subject. Do not worry, we have got you covered! Read this article until the end and learn some important tips on writing capital punishment essays.

Start with choosing the subject for your paper. Here are some capital punishment essay topics that you can use:

  • Capital punishment in the media
  • Crime and punishment in today’s world: Death penalty
  • Capital punishment essay: Arguments against death penalty
  • The legal and ethical implications of capital punishment
  • Capital punishment should be forbidden: Anti-death penalty arguments
  • Why capital punishment may target the poor
  • Death penalty: An issue of life and death

Remember that these are just examples of topics and titles for your paper. You can choose any related capital punishment essay titles. Once you have selected a topic of your essay, you can start working on the assignment. Here are the key points you should use to write an outstanding essay:

  • Study the subject thoroughly. Use reliable sources to analyze the legal and ethical aspects of the death penalty. Select the sources you will use in the paper and remember that they should be credible.
  • A well-developed outline is key. Make sure that your paper includes an introduction, a conclusion, and several body paragraphs.
  • If you are not sure about the structure of your paper, check out essays online to see how they are organized. This step can also help you to see whether the selected problem is relevant. Remember that you should avoid copying the information you will find online. Plagiarism will make your essay look unreliable and get you a bad grade.
  • Remember that you should present your capital punishment essay thesis in the last sentence of your introductory paragraph. Hint: Start working on your introductory paragraph after you research the subject. It will help you to present the background information correctly.
  • Identify the goals of your paper clearly. Do you want to prove your point or provide insight on the issue? Answer these questions before starting to work on your assignment.
  • Define capital punishment. You can discuss its legal implications, its prevalence in different countries, and the offenses that can potentially lead to a death penalty.
  • When working on an opinion piece, state your viewpoint clearly. Do you think that all countries should legalize death penalties? Do you believe that capital punishment is unethical? Do some offenders deserve a death penalty more than others do? Answer these questions in detail.
  • Remember that the purpose of your paper should be to help the reader understand capital punishment better. Your essay should motivate the audience to develop an opinion about the subject.
  • Always support your arguments with evidence. Cite articles in an appropriate style (MLA, APA, Harvard, or other). The best type of sources for your paper is peer-reviewed articles and other scholarly publications.
  • Restate your arguments and the thesis in a concluding section. Provide a summary of your findings along with recommendations for future research.

Need more ideas for your essay? Check out our free samples on the website!

  • Why should the death penalty be abolished?
  • What are some unusual punishments for crimes?
  • Can the death penalty be compared to killing in cold blood?
  • Is life imprisonment more just than the death penalty?
  • Reasons to criticize capital punishment in China.
  • Analyzing A Descending Spiral by Marc Bookman.
  • What are the pros of capital punishment?
  • Executing the innocent people: the issue of mistake.
  • Abolishing the death penalty in Texas.
  • Serial killers sentenced to capital punishment.
  • Capital Punishment: Proponents and Opponents Arguements The opponents of capital of capital punishment argue that it is not a just and humane way of punishing heinous criminals in the society because everybody has right to life.
  • Capital Punishment: A Critical Evaluation of Its Appropriateness in Modern Society In line with the above argument, supporters of capital punishment argue that the practice permanently removes thieves, murderers, rapists, and other criminals from the face of society, in the process making it safer for compliant […]
  • Capital Punishment in Political View This is because quiet a number of the abolitions have been associated with democratic developments in political systems of the countries that have abolished the penalties. Conservatives have in the United States been strongly opposed […]
  • Capital Punishment as an Option in Maryland Death penalty is the most serious punishment that can be used by the government against people; and even if it costs less then keeping a person in jail till the end of his/her life and […]
  • Capital Punishment Role in the World However, it is wrong and unjustified because it is inhuman, unfair, violates the human right to life, and it does not aid in reduction of crime.
  • Capital Punishment Legislation The main reasons that opponents of the death penalty give for their position are, the fact that the death penalty is inhumane and cruel.
  • Analysis of Capital Punishment in the Films Those for the death penalty in the movie are represented by Ramunda who becomes a strong advocate for the death penalty and in many instances, is a counterpart of Cushing.
  • Capital Punishment in Modern American History: Lists of Capital Crimes That Varied From Region to Region Politicians are frequently trying to expand the scope of capital punishment by bringing in a host of crimes under it.”The US public has deep concern over violent crimes due to the cynical manipulation of capital […]
  • The Economic Significance of Capital Punishment The survival of any civilization hinges on the establishment of laws and codes of conduct and the subsequent obeying of the same by the society’s members.
  • Avoiding of Capital Punishment Capital punishment is also unnecessary since there are better ways of punishing criminals such as life imprisonment to keep the society in order and at peace.
  • Capital Punishment and Deterrence of Crime For the case of murder or crimes that necessitate capital punishment, the incentive to commit murder is directly related to the uncertainties that punishments for the crime will generate.
  • Analysis: Speech In Favor of Capital Punishment by John Stuart Mills Mills rightly points out that the very grounds of humanity used to support the removal of the death penalty should also be the ones used to support retaining of the sentence.
  • The Death Penalty in the Modern Society The cost of maintenance of the convicted individuals is also one of the reasons that necessitate the death penalty. The reaffirmation of the death penalty is also attributed to the teachings portrayed by most religions.
  • Capital Punishment: Advantages and Disadvantages This paper examines death penalty from an impartial view by considering disadvantages and advantages of capital punishment in society. Thirdly, Teeters views that death penalty is a retribution action in which a victim is punished […]
  • Psychological Aspects of Capital Punishment According to research done by Freedman and Hemenway on a group of death row inmates, it was established that almost a two-thirds of the death row inmates are retarded.
  • Utilitarianism: Death Penalty: Utilitarian View on Capital Punishment Essay Another significant benefit offered by the death penalty to the society is that it leads to the permanent incapacitation of the convicted person.
  • The Death Penalty Debate in the United States of America The punishment is believed to have been there even at the time of the earlier colonies of the United States; it as well continued to be in force within the states that came to form […]
  • Moral Issue of Capital Punishment Capital punishment is also a form of premeditated death as the action is planned for, does it mean that the state has the right to premeditate deaths for some of its citizens because they are […]
  • The Consequences of Capital Punishment The appeals in the death penalty cases are usually many and cause the social costs of the cases to be even more expensive.
  • Does the Death Sentence Offer Justice to the Criminal? It is not enough to be locked in prison for ending the life of a fellow human being. Revenge is one of the ways that can be used.
  • Isolation and Capital Punishments On the other hand, capital punishments such as deaths deprives of people the freedom of life and goes against God’s command which disallows intentional killings of persons, or murder. Similarly, capital punishment in the form […]
  • The Ethical and Legal Standards of Capital Punishment This is one of the details that should be considered. This is one of the pitfalls that should be avoided.
  • Debates on Capital Punishment in the US For example, capital punishment is the best punishment for murder because it is equal to the crime. Thirdly, capital punishment is a violation of the human right to life.
  • Capital Punishment in United States The most compelling argument in support of capital punishment is that failing to execute murderers may in itself put more lives in danger.
  • Capital Punishment and Unusual Punishment The issue of capital punishment has always been on the radar of the Supreme Court of the United States. The key question that should be answered is the future of capital punishment and unusual punishment […]
  • Capital Punishment, Its Ethics and Infair Justice The main factors leading to differences in stands between the anti-capital punishment and pro-death are the morality and religious issues surrounding the matter.
  • Capital Punishment in Indonesia The government is also known to safeguard the details of capital punishment in the country. The targeted prisoners are “executed in the middle of the night”.
  • Capital Punishment in Melville’s “Billy Budd, Sailor” One of the reasons for the triumph of Billy Budd, Sailor in America and the United Kingdom, was the precision, with which the author portrayed the historical and cultural context, particularly Melville analyzed both issues […]
  • The Controversy Over Capital Punishment It is as a result of this that he concludes that Ford calls for the execution of capital punishment as a penalty in criminal offences.
  • Capital Punishment and Race Factor in the US First of all, it is necessary to briefly discuss the history of race in the U.S.to provide a foundation for the bias and explain its causes.
  • Public Opinion on Capital Punishment for Juveniles This essay is a study of the public opinion on Capital Punishment for juveniles, this is a very controversial subject as many people are against Captial punishment, and many are for life imprisonment, capital punishment […]
  • An Orwellian Look at Capital Punishment His reaction to the actual hanging of a puny Hindu man borders on a strategy of remaining as a detached viewer and subconsciously, his gorge rises at the thought of a human being with a […]
  • Capital Punishment in the US Analysis Capital Punishment is the lawful infliction of death as a punishment for a major crime. The first argument against Capital Punishment is that it is inhumane.
  • Capital Punishment – Moral or Immoral? It would not be a futile exercise to interpret capital punishment in the light of religion before proceeding to the subject of my argument. Countries that give importance to such punishments should tone down and […]
  • Capital Punishment in the UK Should be Reintroduced? ‘Capital Punishment’ or the ‘Death Penalty’ is the judicially ordered, lawful infliction of death as a punishment for a serious crime called a ‘capital offence’ or a ‘capital crime.
  • Capital Punishment: Term Definition In that regard, taking such issues such as euthanasia, abortion and capital punishment, the latter can be considered as the most delicate, especially considering many cases that represent exceptions that are feared to be repeated.
  • Capital Punishment in Florida The system is erroneous and cases that almost end up in the ‘chair’ are overturned contrary to the expectations of the family members of the murdered.
  • Capital Punishment Debates: Death Penalty The capital punishment has been practiced in almost all the societies and all epochs in the development of the mankind. The author educates the society as a whole on litigious issues of the death penalty […]
  • Capital Punishment Interpretation and Exceptions Under custody, the law applies to cases in which the conditions of custody are compromised and to situations where the suspect is held unfairly. The suspect responded with a yes and this was used as […]
  • Capital Punishment: Utilitarianism and Retributivism Theories However, to rule out chances of an innocent person being punished, the theory advocates for justice; before punishment is administered, the court should proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty.
  • The Significance of Capital Punishment in the UAE Current analysis of the importance of the death penalty worldwide focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of the punishment. The UAE has a mandatory death penalty which is susceptible to the judgment of authorities and […]
  • Justifications for Capital Punishment This statement mostly appeals to a general deterrence argument, as the fear of punishment emerged from showing its implementation, but not from other justifications effects.
  • Capital Punishment Is Morally and Legally Wrong The problem of the death penalty is complex and multifaceted. It affects the political, legal, moral, cultural, and other fields of life.
  • Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty Furthermore, the defense and, in the United States, the prosecution has the right of vexatious challenge, which allows it to confront several participants without providing a reason.
  • What Does Capital Punishment Mean in History?
  • How Can Death Penalty Prevent Repeat Offenders?
  • Why Should Capital Punishment Be Reinstated in Australia?
  • How Objective and Justifiable Are Our Reasons for Enforcing the Death Penalty?
  • Does Capital Punishment Have a Deterrent Effect?
  • How Has the Death Penalty Changed Over Time?
  • What Is Wrong With Capital Punishment?
  • Should Federal Courts Review State Death Penalty Cases?
  • Can Capital Punishment Ever Be Justified?
  • Should the Death Penalty Apply to Juvenile Criminals?
  • Does the Death Penalty Breach Human Rights?
  • Can Capital Punishment Keep Us Safe?
  • Should the Death Penalty Be a Part of the System of Justice?
  • Does Capital Punishment Equate to Cruel and Unusual Punishment?
  • Should the Death Penalty Be Enforced?
  • How Does Capital Punishment Affirm Life?
  • Should the Death Penalty Be Imposed for Drug Offences?
  • Does Capital Punishment Have a Local Deterrent Effect on Homicides?
  • Should the Death Penalty Be Mandatory for Homicide?
  • How Does Capital Punishment Work in the United States?
  • Should the Death Penalty Be Morally Acceptable?
  • Does Race Affect the Way of Capital Punishment?
  • What Crimes Are Charged With Death Penalty?
  • Does the Capital Punishment Have a Role in Civilized Society?
  • Why Should Capital Punishment Be Abolished?
  • What Effects Does the Death Penalty Cause on Society?
  • How Does Legislation Help to Prevent Racial Bias in Death Penalty Convictions?
  • Is the Death Penalty Fair?
  • Does Jodi Arias Deserve the Death Penalty?
  • What Attitudes Might Christians Hold About Capital Punishment?
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2024, February 22). 84 Capital Punishment Essay Topics & Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/capital-punishment-essay-examples/

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Persuasive Essay

Persuasive Essay About Death Penalty

Last updated on: Jan 2, 2024

Crafting a Compelling Persuasive Essay About Death Penalty

By: Donna C.

Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.

Published on: Jan 27, 2023

Persuasive Essay About Death Penalty

Writing a persuasive essay about the death penalty can be difficult. You want to make sure that your argument is convincing and well-reasoned. 

It's important to get your persuasive essay about death row right because it's a topic that people feel passionately about. 

You don't want to risk alienating your readers with a poorly written argument.

We can help you write an excellent persuasive essay about the death penalty. Our experienced writers know how to craft an argument to persuade your readers.

Let’s get started!

Persuasive Essay About Death Penalty

On this Page

What is a Persuasive Essay? 

A persuasive essay is used to convince a reader about a particular idea or focus that you believe in. Your persuasive essay could be based on anything about which you can make a clear argument.  

Whether you're arguing against junk food at school or petitioning for the removal of the death penalty, persuasive skills are essential. 

When writing a persuasive essay, you need to think about what kind of evidence can support the death penalty argument. 

Depending on your topic, this could include facts and data, examples from real life, or quotes from experts. 

You want to convince them that your opinion is the one that matters most. After all, persuasion is at the heart of any successful essay. 

So make sure you research and think carefully about presenting your argument! 

Take a look at these persuasive essay topics and select the one that interests you the most!

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Persuasive Essay About Death Penalty Examples

The death penalty is a highly controversial and polarizing topic. It is an issue that has been debated for centuries, with passionate advocates on both sides of the debate. 

Unfortunately, there are still many countries in the world that practice capital crimes. This raises some very important ethical and moral questions for society. 

One of the best ways to share their opinions is through persuasive essays. You can use the following essay samples as inspiration for writing an essay.

Example of a Persuasive essay about death penalty

Persuasive essay about death penalty in the Philippines

Short Persuasive essay about death penalty

Persuasive essay about death penalty should be abolished

The death penalty pros and cons essay

Argumentative Essay About Death Penalty Examples

In some countries, death penalties are still used as capital punishment to deter crimes. 

However, there are also many people who argue that the death penalty should be abolished because it's inhumane.

The easiest way is to convey your thoughts through an argumentative essay. Check out these examples to see how you can structure your arguments.

Argumentative essay about death penalty in the Philippines

Argumentative essay about death penalty with introduction body conclusion

Argumentative essay about death penalty should be abolished

Argumentative essay about death penalty conclusion

Need more samples? Check out these persuasive essay examples !

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

Persuasive Essay Writing Tips

Writing a persuasive essay is all about making sure your opinion is heard. Be sure to create a persuasive essay outline before you start writing!

Here are some tips to help you make your argument convincing.

  • First, always start with an interesting introduction.  Use creative language to capture the reader's attention and introduce the subject of your essay. 
  • Second, back up your opinion with solid evidence.  Provide facts, statistics, and quotes from reliable sources that can help strengthen your argument. 
  • Third, make sure your prose is clear and concise.  Don’t let long-winded sentences or complex language get in the way of getting your point across. 
  • Finally, create a strong conclusion.   Restate your argument and provide a call to action if appropriate. Ensure the reader knows exactly what you want them to do with this essay. 

Need help with facts? Check out this video debate about the death penalty.

Time to wrap it up!

Writing a persuasive essay about the death penalty can be difficult, but it's important to get it right. 

Since people feel passionate about the issue on both sides of the argument, your argument needs to be convincing. 

If you're unsure how to do this, you can use our examples as inspiration. 

Are you looking to create a powerful argument that will captivate your readers? 

Our experienced writers will work with you to craft an argument to convince your readers.

SharkPapers.com is here to help! 

Our essay writing service provides persuasive essays crafted by expert writers backed up with compelling evidence and research.

Our essay writer will create arguments that can make your reader understand and agree with your narrative. 

We understand how important it is to ensure your essay is persuasive. As a result, we guarantee high-quality work every time. 

Let our persuasive essay writer craft the perfect argument for you today! We guarantee that your writing will be persuasive and effective. 

Our persuasive essay writing service can help you create powerful arguments for your essay. Get started today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most persuasive argument for the death penalty.

When it comes to the death penalty, few arguments are as persuasive as this: 

"Innocent persons have been put to death before - and it might continue to happen unless we do something about it". 

That's why proponents of the death penalty often bring up the concept of "just deserts." This asserts that those guilty of a heinous crime deserve to receive a cruel and unusual punishment. 

How do you start a persuasive speech on the death penalty?

You can start a persuasive speech through a hook statement, this will help pique the listeners attention. However, be sure to avoid biasness.   

To start, establish why the audience should care about this. Present facts that highlight how unjust form of punishment it is.

What are good topics for persuasive essays?

Here is a list of inspiring persuasive essay topics:

  • Should people be punished for the crimes committed in rage?
  • Should unjustly arrested people be sentenced to death without getting the benefit of doubt?
  • Should government-funded jails in the United States stop considering a death penalty as morally just? 
  • Do the wrongly executed people deserve an eye for an eye? 
  • Is gun control necessary in society today?  

Donna C.

Law, Education

Donna writes on a broad range of topics, but she is mostly passionate about social issues, current events, and human-interest stories. She has received high praise for her writing from both colleagues and readers alike. Donna is known in her field for creating content that is not only professional but also captivating.

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Home / Essay Samples / Social Issues / Human Rights / Death Penalty

Argumentative Essay on Death Penalty

Essay details

Social Issues , Law, Crime & Punishment

Human Rights , Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice , Judiciary

Death Penalty , Punishment , Types of Human Rights

  • Words: 1992 (4 pages)

Argumentative Essay on Death Penalty

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

Table of Contents

Introduction, historical background of death penalty, the death penalty today, arguments for the death penalty, death penalty as a deterrence, arguments against the death penalty, the need to abolish the capital penalty.

  • Death Penalty Curriculum “A just society requires the death penalty for the taking of a life: Agree”, Michigan State University http://deathpenaltycurriculum.org/node/10
  • Death Penalty Information Center, “Discussion of Recent Deterrence Studies”, Berkeley Electronic Press http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/discussion-recent-deterrence-studies
  • Death Penalty Information Center, “Discussion of Recent Deterrence Studies”, Ohio State Journal http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/discussion-recent-deterrence-studies
  • George E. Pataki, “Death penalty is a deterrent”, USA Today http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/Articles/Pataki.htm
  • Unknown Author, “RALPH BAZE AND THOMAS C. BOWLING, Petitionersv. JOHN D. REES, COMMISSIONER, KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL”. United States Supreme Court. 2008, 1

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More Death Penalty Related Essays

I am strongly opposed to the death penalty for many reasons.First and foremost it is simply a barbaric, archaic and Draconian method of punishment. It is the ultimate removal of the universal right to life. It is murder, pure ...

How many of us know that till today 56 countries follows death penalty and 106 countries abolished death penalty from their law. Many people say that death penalty has lots of advantages, whereas others dispute that it has ...

The death penalty has been used for years as a way to punish the guilty. The death penalty used to be an effective way of reducing crime. Over the years the death penalty has cost our Justice system millions. Besides the cost, ...

Just in case you want to commit a serious crime, will you hesitate if you know you will be executed if you get caught? Your answers might depend on your own situation and it will vary from person to person. However, whether the ...

The prison system fails to achieve the core purposes of sentencing and punishment as it focuses solely on the punishment of offenders and not their rehabilitation and the recovery of victims. As a result, alternative options ...

Digital piracy is a serious issue that harms both producers and consumers. Digital piracy is the act of obtaining an illegal and unapproved copy of digital content from a third party not authorized to distribute the content. ...

The argument Gary Soto was exemplifying throughout his narrative, “Looking for Work”, was one of social injustice while longing for social and racial equality. The cultural purpose of this literary piece is profound yet often ...

Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment hangs on a delicate balance between realism and psychology. On one hand is the sense of disconnection to reality evident in the novel’s protagonist Raskolnikov; on the other is the ‘realistic’ ...

“If you're going to do something wrong, do it big, because the punishment is the same either way.” (Jayne Mansfield) If all felonies were to have a preset punishment, wouldn’t this be the mindset of all criminals? For the ...

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  1. Argumentative Against Death Penalty

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  3. 😍 Pro death penalty essay outline. Persuasive Essay Outline. 2022-10-11

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  4. The Introduction To Death Penalty Philosophy Free Essay Example

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  5. Should The Death Penalty Be Abolished?

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  6. 💄 Argument essay against death penalty. Against the Death Penalty

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  1. The Death Penalty needs to be reinstated in Illinois!

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  3. The Theme of Death in Plath's "Lady Lazarus" Poem

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  5. Death Proof Full Movie Facts & Review / Kurt Russell / Rosario Dawson

COMMENTS

  1. Death Penalty Essay Introduction

    1. the Opening Sentence/Hook 2. Background Information 3. Thesis Statement Death Penalty Essay Introduction Example Conclusion The death penalty is a state-sanctioned practice where an individual is executed for an offense punishable through such means.

  2. 5 Death Penalty Essays Everyone Should Know

    Here are five essays about the death penalty everyone should read: "When We Kill" By: Nicholas Kristof | From: The New York Times 2019 In this excellent essay, Pulitizer-winner Nicholas Kristof explains how he first became interested in the death penalty. He failed to write about a man on death row in Texas.

  3. Death Penalty Essay

    Long Essay on Death Penalty is usually given to classes 7, 8, 9, and 10. Capital punishment, death penalty or execution is considered as the infliction of death upon a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes. Death penalties are enforced on people who have ...

  4. Capital punishment

    Jan. 29, 2024, 4:29 PM ET (AP) Missouri prosecutor seeks to overturn the conviction of an inmate who has spent decades on death row capital punishment, execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense.

  5. Should the Death Penalty Be Abolished?

    The death penalty is a difficult issue for many Americans on moral, religious and policy grounds. But as a legal issue, it is straightforward.

  6. ≡Essays on Death Penalty: Top 10 Examples by GradesFixer

    Introduction The death penalty is a highly controversial topic that has sparked debate and discussion for centuries. It refers to the legal process of sentencing an individual to death as punishment for a crime they have committed. This essay will explore the various arguments surrounding... Death Penalty Death 4

  7. The Death Penalty Essay, with Outline

    Death Penalty Essay Outline Introduction Thesis: The death penalty should be abolished because it is not one of the best methods of punishing criminals and addressing crime. Body Paragraph 1: Capital punishment is not an effective way of deterring crime contrary to arguments of those who support it.

  8. Introduction To The Death Penalty

    Introduction To The Death Penalty | ACE Individuals convicted of the death penalty are found guilty of capital crimes, most notably, murder, espionage, and treason. In the 1600s, the American colonies used the death penalty as a punishment for most serious crimes.

  9. The Death Penalty in the US Criminal Justice System Essay

    Introduction. The death penalty has been a largely debated form of punishment in the U.S. since its inception. The law supporting this unkind and unfair sentence was thus, put under scrutiny and consequently several death sentences were either overturned or could only be carried out on proportionate grounds by the supreme courts heralding a new era in the criminal justice system of the US.

  10. 1 Introduction

    1. Introduction. I n 1976 the Supreme Court decision Gregg v. Georgia (428 U.S. 153) ended the 4-year moratorium on executions that had resulted from its 1972 decision in Furman v.Georgia (408 U.S. 238). In Furman the Court had ruled that the death penalty, as then administered in the United States, constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

  11. The Death Penalty: Arguments and Alternative Solutions

    The death penalty is a highly controversial topic that has sparked debate and discussion for centuries. It refers to the legal process of sentencing an individual to death as punishment for a crime they have committed. This essay will explore the various arguments surrounding the death penalty and present my personal opinion on the matter.

  12. The Death Penalty

    1. Deontological Justifications Deontological defenses of capital punishment see execution as a morally "fitting" response to murderers' horrible deeds.[2] There are two main varieties. 1.1. Retributivist Justifications The idea that punishments should be equal in severity to their crimes underlies retributivist defenses of capital punishment.

  13. How should I write an introduction and a conclusion about the death

    John Kelly | Certified Educator Share Cite You don't say whether you favor the death penalty or not, and it really isn't important. Which ever view you take, you need to have your main idea and...

  14. BBC

    In 2008, only 25 out of 59 countries that retain the death penalty carried out executions. Amnesty International, March 2009 China executes the most people per year overall, with an estimated ...

  15. Argumentative Essay on Death Penalty

    Introduction: Argumentative Essay on Death Penalty . The death penalty, a contentious issue that has sparked debates worldwide, remains a deeply divisive topic. Historically, societies have implemented capital punishment as a means of deterring crime and delivering justice for the most heinous offenses.

  16. Death Penalty Essay Sample

    Introduction The death penalty has been used for years as a way to punish the guilty. The death penalty used to be an effective way of reducing crime. Over the years the death penalty has cost our Justice system millions. Besides the cost, it violates our Human Rights Bill and punishes innocent people.

  17. 83 Death Penalty Title Ideas & Essay Samples

    83 Capital Punishment Essay Topics & Examples. 9 min. If you've looked for capital punishment essay topics, you're in luck! Below, our experts have collected some death penalty title ideas and samples for your paper. We will write. a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts. 809 writers online.

  18. Introduction To The Death Penalty Philosophy Essay

    Death penalty is when someone is put to death using different types of methods, for a serious crime such as murder, rape and drug dealing. It is also known as capital punishment, which comes from the Latin word 'capital' meaning 'regarding the head'. So therefore the most common way of capital punishment is hanging or decapitating.

  19. (PDF) The Death Penalty

    Capital punishment, also known as death penalty, is a government sanctioned practice whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. ... An Introduction to the ...

  20. Capital punishment

    In 1794 the U.S. state of Pennsylvania became the first jurisdiction to restrict the death penalty to first-degree murder, and in 1846 the state of Michigan abolished capital punishment for all murders and other common crimes.

  21. Writing a Persuasive Essay About Death Penalty with Examples

    Check out these examples to see how you can structure your arguments. Argumentative essay about death penalty in the Philippines. Argumentative essay about death penalty with introduction body conclusion. Argumentative essay about death penalty should be abolished. Argumentative essay about death penalty conclusion. Expert Tip.

  22. Argumentative Essay on Death Penalty

    Introduction The death penalty is the ultimate punishment. There is no harsher punishment than death itself. Currently fifty-eight nations practice the death penalty. Our nation, the United States of America, is one of the fifty-eight nations that practice the death penalty.

  23. Death Penalty Essay Introduction Free Essay Example

    Essay, Pages 3 (559 words) Views. 505. A death penalty is one of the oldest corrections familiar to mankind. Strictly speaking, it was applied even before the criminal law appears in a modern sense of the word. One of the problems worries not only lawyers but a whole society, causing a lot of discussions, disputes and debates, was and still is ...