Capital punishment, or death penalty, is one of the oldest forms of punishment. It is also the most controversial. Many people are confused as to what type of punishment is the best punishment for those who committed a heinous crime. Many people opt for the death penalty because they say it deters crime since it makes criminals scared to do crimes. However, there are statistics that prove that death penalty is not that effective in preventing crime, which basically renders the whole thing pointless.
The people who opt for having death penalty are those who often had a brush with heinous crime. They are often in it for revenge as they had been victims at one point or another. They believe that death penalty is a good way of preventing future crimes as they kill a killer. Is this decision sound?
The Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham’s theories states that the man is a rational being, rationality involves a calculation (usually ends/means calculation), people choose their own behavior, whether the behavior is deviant of conformist based on their calculations, these calculations usually involve a cost-benefit analysis with regards to their behavior, and this choice of behavior is usually geared towards maximizing the feelings of pleasure (versus pain), and this perception can only be controlled by manipulating their understanding of pain (punishment). This is where the government comes in, as they usually are the ones responsible for maintaining social order by means of having laws, which is also a social contract that they have to fulfill. In order to make punishments effective, the government looks at the swiftness, severity and certainty of the punishment. According to this theory, the criminal usually commits crimes knowingly, after they weighed the pros and cons of the crime that they are going to commit. They analyze everything, from the risk of being apprehended, the degree of the punishment, and his need for the gains that he would commit as a criminal. Because of this, we can assume that crime prevention can be successful by letting the criminals, or even the potential criminals, by letting them perceive really heavy punishment, like death penalty. These criminals will have to be convinced that punishments can be quite threatening. Thus, the government imposes legal deterrents such as mandatory sentencing and capital punishment. Capital punishment as a legal deterrent goes back a long way. From the time of the Vikings, the Roman Republic, the French Revolution, World War II and up to this time. However, the most famous ancient death penalty laws were probably made in Ancient Greece, where the Athenian legal system was penned by Draco, and it included capital punishment for a wide range of crimes, even petty theft. The question is, does it deter crime effectively as it should be? There are a lot of studies dedicated to finding out about the relationship between crime rates and death penalty. Currently, there are only sixteen states (US) without the death penalty. Texas is the leading state which has a lot of executions. It has also one of the highest crime rates. There are a lot of studies that show that death penalty does not have any deterrent effect on crime rate. This means that even if you do not have capital punishment in your state, the crimes would still continue, making capital punishment theoretically useless, in terms of deterring crime, which was its original purpose – to let criminals perceive that capital punishment would be a heavy enough punishment such that the crime they commit would not be worth it. There is also evidence that the states with capital punishment