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Studies Show That There is Little To No Deterrent Value of the Death Penalty on the Commission of Homicides

What is the purpose behind punishment? What is the effect that punishment has on the way that our criminal justice system works? These are some of the questions that are currently reevaluating the way in which our society sentences many charged criminal defendants. According to a new study, however, the deterrence factor on some of the punishments and sentences that fall on convicted criminals is not having the same effect on crime rates as was originally contemplated.

Purposes Behind Punishment and Sentencing

The main purposes of punishment are generally categorized in a few separate ways. One, it is to ensure that violent people are removed from society for the safety of the public good. Two, punishment is meant to provide a form of long-term rehabilitation, especially when the criminal defendant is a juvenile and may be able to mature and learn from the mistakes of his/her past. Finally, punishments and sentences serve as a deterrent to the public. Punishment and sentences help maintain the public good by delineating what is right and what is wrong based on societal standards.

“Death Penalty not Deterring the Commission of Homicides” Study Says

In an article published by Newsweek, it has become apparent that the death penalty is not really having the deterrent effect originally imagined in the commission of homicides, and is actually causing significant issues within the criminal justice system for several reasons. When comparing the death penalty in countries that utilize the practice with countries that have abolished the practice (for example, the United States versus Canada, and Hong Kong versus Singapore), there seems to be no measurable effect that the death penalty has had on the commission of homicides.

Reasons Why The Deterrent Effect is Minimal

If anything, it seems that those who commit such heinous crimes that are worth receiving the death penalty are involved with more immediate risks just by virtue of committing a heinous crime, that the prospect of the death penalty far into the future after years and years of appeals would have little influence on someone willing to commit the offense in the first place. In other words, to commit a horrific crime is rare in its own right, to receive the death penalty is rare as well (of the 14,000 murders in 2014, only 35 led to the death penalty), and most likely to commit such a horrific crime would mean the person was a psychopath and wouldn’t necessarily care about the consequences of his/her actions in the first place. The death penalty, as opposed to life in prison, would have very little deterrent effect on the decision-making of a person already psychotic or sociopathic.

The Cost of the Death Penalty vs. Life in Prison for 50 years

Finally, the institution of the death penalty has proven to be a waste of resources. It costs the state more money fielding the years and years of appeals and then executing the criminal defendant, than just sentencing the defendant to life in prison. It was estimated by an article published in the Aiken Standard that it will cost the state on average $1.1 million more to execute a criminal defendant (after years and years of litigating and appeals) than housing an inmate for 50 years in prison. In addition, in California, for example, execution is the third leading cause of death of death row inmates who are more likely to die from old age or suicide.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

The death penalty is still available in Florida and it is important, if you or a loved one has been arrested for a capital offense, to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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