their history. Currently, above two-thirds of all nations have bannedthe form of punishment, 130 nations have totally eliminated thelawful practice of capital punishment, while 9 use the practice forspecific offences, like those related to war. Contrary, 58 nationsprogress to apply capital punishment for average offences, whichincludes America. A fundamental explanation in support of thepractice is that it prevents or deters wrongdoing. It might act likea particular deterrent through discouraging wrongdoers from engagingin offences that result in capital punishment. It may as well act asan illustration for the consequences of engaging in specificoffences. However, the argument is still in question due to argumentsthat the practice has no deterrence effect. The objective of thispaper is to investigate if capital punishment discourages crime.
Anckar (160-163) evaluates the determinants of capital punishmentwith no support for or in objection of capital punishment. Theresearch has been carried out at various phases of evaluation with aninternational comparison, where all global nations are incorporated.Additionally, the author carries out disparate evaluations indemocracies as well as non-democracies. Variable associations arecalculated and the US is employed as the unit for evaluation. Thefindings are that the level of democracy appears to have explanatoryinfluence in the implementation of capital punishment. Anckar’sresearch demonstrates that Christianity has a negative influence ondeath penalty, while Islam and Buddhism to lesser extremes have apositive outlook for capital punishment (Anckar 163). Population sizeis associated to capital punishment in the Pacific, Asia as well asAmerica. This means that more of the countries are likely to employthe practice, as is the case with America (Anckar 163). Therationale might be population size correspond to great levels ofoffences. The link amid population size and capital punishment couldthus be a function of the link amid population size and offencelevels. The author aims at demonstrating that countries will eitherimplement or fail to implement capital punishment based on thedeterminants or religion, level of democracy, historical disparitiesand population.
Apart from determinants, economic evaluations can be used to thestudy crime. The research by (Palmer 4-21) is an approach to theeconomics of wrongdoing, which is founded based on neoclassicalwelfare hypothesis. The school of thought regarded as the classicalschool of crime (CSC) has advanced the hypothesis. CSC is employed inapplying standard tools for economic evaluation to the area, whichhas been mainly reserved by psychologists, as well as sociologists.CSC is founded on the presumption that wrongdoers are coherent actingin relation to the expenses and benefits of their deeds. They enhancetheir utility, in the similar manner as bakers or shoemakers enhancetheir utilities via purposeful deeds. The conclusions obtained fromthe approach question the conventional social and psychologyrationalizations on wrongdoing. This has resulted in CSC makingoriginal proposals for administrative guidelines, founded on thepresumption that administration powers pursue the objective ofenhancing the wellbeing of community via enactment or rules. Thehypothesis is that the common rule is perfectly explained as astructure of enhancing society’s wealth.
The research by Dezhbakhsh, Rubin and Shepherd (29-30) provides moreinsight on the deterrence effect of capital punishment on crime. Itis assumed that alterations in legal practice permitting executionsstarting in 1977 have been linked with important minimizations inhomicide. An enhancement in arrest, sentencing or execution seems tominimize crime levels. The approximations are that in every incidenceof capital punishment, the legal practices appear to result in savingthe lives of 18 possible offenders (Dezhbakhsh, Rubin and Shepherd30). In addition, it seems that burglary and motivated physicalattack are linked with murder levels. Deterrence reflects on thesocial advantages that are linked with death sentence. This involvesthe regret linked with the inability of reversing the killing of anindividual. With death sentence, people become apprehensive ofengaging in wrongdoing.
Society has always employed punishment as a method of discouragingpossible offenders from engaging in illegal deeds. Because communityhas the greatest interest in crime prevention, as well as murder, itought to execute the greatest punishment present to avoid murder,which is capital punishment. Deterrence works via many ways. One,when people that kill others are sentenced to dying, possible killersmay think twice prior to commencing with their unlawful acts due toapprehensions that they will lose their lives as well (Bender 10-13).Criminologists have conducted study on murder levels to determine ifthey have reduced with the possibility of murderers being subjectedto capital punishment. The outcome of the studies have been that foreach inmate facing the death penalty, seven lives were saved as otherpeople were deterred from engaging in such unlawful acts. Althoughdeterrence studies might be inconclusive, it is because the practiceis not used often and takes years prior to the actualization of deathpenalty. Second, punishments that are immediate and sure act as thebest prevention. According to psychological research, the mainrationale why people will avoid offences resulting in their ownmurder is because individuals are apprehensive of death (Bender10-13). More so, death, which is purposefully executed by law. Whatindividuals are most apprehensive of is likely to result in moreprevention of unlawful actions. Third, deterrence is achieved byeliminating the offender from society. Once the individual thatcommits murder is murdered, it reduces the figure of murderers insociety. This works in the similar manner as how a robber indetained, preventing them from further stealing in streets.
In rebuttal to the deterrence impact of capital punishment, is thecomparison amid the practice and life incarceration. There isresearch demonstrating that in actuality deterrence could result inmore crime (Bender 47). This is because society seems to bebrutalized by the employment of death penalty, which enhances thepossibility of more killings. There are states in America, which haveopted not to implement capital punishment and have a lesser level ofmurder compared to states using the practice. The same applies whenAmerica is compared to nations that ban capital punishment. America,despite using death penalty, progresses to have greater cases ofmurder within the country. On the contrary, nations like Europe orCanada have far lesser crime levels. Capital punishment fails toavoid wrongdoing, as most individuals that execute the offences donot suppose that they will be caught (Bender 56). In other instances,the individuals have no time to contemplate on the disparity amid aprobable execution and life incarceration prior to committing murder.Often killings happen spontaneously due to anger or by offenders thatare abusing drugs, hence meaning they act impulsively. Onceincarcerated for life, persons in prison seize to become a peril tosociety, as they are never released back to their community. Theargument is that there is no rationale for ending the lives ofpeople, when life incarceration acts in the similar manner ofeliminating the offenders from community.
A different argument demonstrating the effectiveness of capitalpunishment is retribution. When people murder, the balance offairness becomes disturbed, except when the balance is reinstated incommunity. It is argued that it is via taking the life of murderersthat the balance is ensured allowing community to depict convincinglythat killing cannot be tolerated as it will be punished in the sameway as the offence. Retribution has its foundation of religiousideals that have ensured the rule “eye for an eye” meaning thatkilling is rewarded with murdering. Although such acts will notrestore the lives of the person that has been murdered or provideconsolation to their relatives, execution resolves the offence, andworks to ensure that such acts are avoided in society. For brutalactions, where capital punishment applies, retribution supposes thatthe offenders deserve such or worse punishment under law. This canmerely be death penalty, as any less stringent punishment willdiminish society’s value of the protection of lives. Support forcapital punishment is enhanced by the fact that most of theindividuals murdered are usually innocent civilians, and in mostinstances have never engaged in wrongdoing. Thus, the murderer needsto be eliminated from society to prevent them from committing themurders of more innocent persons. In this case, capital punishmentwill prevent wrongdoing by demonstrating that unlawful acts cannot gounpunished. Provided an individual commits offences, they will haveto pay with their life.
In rebuttal to the argument of retribution is the argument thatcapital punishment is not a fair reaction for killing. Retributionrefers to revenging. Though our instant reaction might be inflictingimmediate pain on individuals that cause harm to use, in a maturesociety, it is necessary to apply more rationale reactions. Theemotional impulse to retribution is not ample rationalization forinvoking a practice of death penalty. The laws and criminal justicestructure ought to direct people to greater ideals demonstrating atotal regard for life, including protecting the murderer’s lives.It is presumed that murdering an individual that has killed anotherwill result in justice to the victim’s family. However, it isimpossible to replace the life of a lost family member. In thesimilar manner, it also causes pain to the murderer’s family. Lawshould be used in protecting the lives of all individuals involved.
It is not possible to conclude is capital punishment works to ensurethat criminal actions are avoided. However, it is apparent that tosome extreme death penalty deters wrongdoing by alarming possibleoffenders from involvement in murder. Deterrence is achieved byeliminating the offenders from society such that they will not commitfurther offences in prospect. Similarly, it has been argued thatcapital punishment fails in deterring crime because it is a form ofrevenge. This means that society needs to find more rationale ways toreplace capital punishment. The research issue is complex because itis hard to arrive at conclusive arguments on supporting, or notsupporting capital punishment. Both arguments have substantialclaims, which are convincing. The research process is enlightening asone is able to gain more insight on why some states employ capitalpunishment, whereas others do not. It also informs on how the lawpractice works to deter crime, and why it may fail in the same.
Anckar Carsten. Determinants of the Death Penalty. New York:Routledge, 2004.
Bender, David et al. Does Capital punishment deter crime? SanDiego, California: Greenhaven Press, Inc.
Dezhbakhsh Hashem., Rubin, Paul H. & Shepherd, Joanna M. DoesCapital Punishment Have a Deterrent Effect? New Evidence fromPostmoratorium Panel Data. Am. Law Economics Review. 5 (2003):344 – 376.
Palmer Jan. Economic Analyses of the Deterrent Effect of Punishment:A Review. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 14:(1977): 4 – 21.
Ruppin, Ulrike. Does the death penalty reduce crime? A EuropeanAssociation of Psycology and Law (2012): 1-4.