The implementation of capital punishment in the United States today has become a seldom-used means to deter crime. The death penalty was established in order to punish those who are guilty and to discourage those who contemplate committing heinous crimes from doing so. Society has backed down from its very supportive stance on the death penalty since being barraged with propaganda that says capital punishment is cruel and unusual. Most of the crimes committed by those who face execution can be listed as either cruel or unusual, though. Through analyzing the effectiveness of deterrence, the ineffectiveness of life sentences, and the morality of capital punishment, the significance of the death penalty can be shown.
Deterrence refers to the suggestion that executing murderers will decrease the rate of homicides by causing potential murderers not to commit murder for fear of being executed themselves. The fear of punishment is enough to dissuade many people from taking extreme actions. Since 1990, Harris County, a single county in Texas has had more executions than any other county in any state in the United States, according to David Bragdon, a Government/Pre-law major from North Carolina. During the period between 1990 and 1995, Harris County has had a forty-eight percent drop in crime, the greatest decrease in the United States. In Harris County, the highest homicide rate was
in 1981, one year before the death penalty was reinstated in Texas. This directly indicates that the implementation of the death penalty correlates with a drop in the homicide rate. Deterrence is effective when properly put into practice.
Many people have argued that the cost of executing a prisoner is higher than keeping him incarcerated for life. The annual cost of incarceration is $40,000 to
$50,000 a year for prisoners who are serving life terms without parole. Executing a prisoner is much more cost effective