Capital Punishment


Capital Punishment deters murder, and is just Retribution.
Capital punishment, is the execution of criminals by the
state, for committing crimes, regarded so heinous, that
this is the only acceptable punishment. Capital punishment
does not only lower the murder rate, but it's value as
retribution alone is a good reason for handing out death

Support for the death penalty in the U.S. has risen to an
average of 80% according to an article written by Richard
Worsnop, entitled "Death Penalty Debate Centres on
Retribution". This figure is slightly lower in Canada where
support for the death penalty is at 72% of the population
over 18 years of age, as stated in article by Kirk Makir,
in the March 26, 1987 edition of the Globe and Mail, titled
"B.C. MPs split on Death Penalty".
The death penalty deters murder by putting the fear of
death into would be killers. A person is less likely to do
something, if he or she thinks that harm will come to him.
Another way the death penalty deters murder, is the fact
that if the killer is dead, he will not be able to kill
Most supporters of the death penalty feel that offenders
should be punished for their crimes, and that it does not
matter whether it will deter the crime rate. Supporters of
the death penalty are in favor of making examples out of
offenders, and that the threat of death will be enough to
deter the crime rate, but the crime rate is irrelevant.
According to Isaac Ehrlich's study, published on April 16,
1976, eight murders are deterred for each execution that is
carried out in the U.S.A. He goes on to say, "If one
execution of a guilty capital murderer deters the murder of
one innocent life, the execution is justified." To most
supporters of the death penalty, like Ehrlich, if even one
life is saved, for countless executions of the guilty, it
is a good reason for the death penalty. The theory that
society engages in murder when executing the guilty, is
considered invalid by most supporters, including Ehrlich.
He feels that execution of convicted offenders expresses
the great value society places on innocent life.
Isaac Ehrlich goes on to state that racism is also a point
used by death penalty advocates. We will use the U.S. as
examples, since we can not look at the inmates on death row
in Canada, because their are laws in Canada that state that
crime statistics can not be based on race, also the fact
that there are no inmates on death row in Canada. In the
U.S. 16 out of 1000 whites arrested for murder are
sentenced to death, while 12 of 1000 blacks arrested for
murder were sentenced to death. 1.1% of black inmates on
death row were executed, while 1.7% of white inmates will
Another cry for racism, as according to Ehrlich, that is
raised by advocates of the death penalty is based on the
color of the victim, for example "if the victim is white,
it is more likely that the offender will get the death
penalty than if the victim had been black". This is true,
if you look at the actual number of people who are murder.
More people kill whites and get the death penalty, then
people who kill blacks and get the death penalty. The
reason for this is that more whites are killed, and the
murders captured. Now if we look at the number of blacks
killed it is a lot less, but you have to look at these
numbers proportionately. Percent wise it is almost the same
number for any race, so this is not the issue.
In a 1986 study done by Professor Stephen K. Layson of the
University of North Carolina, the conclusions made by
Ehrilich were updated, and showed to be a little on the low
side as far as the deterrence factor of capital punishment.
Professor Layson found that 18 murders were deterred by
each execution is the U.S. He also found that executions
increases in probability of arrest, conviction, and other
executions of heinous offenders.
According to a statement issued by George C. Smith,
Director of Litigation, Washington Legal Foundation, titled
"In Support of the Death Penalty", support for the death
penalty has grown in the U.S., as the crime rate increased.
In 1966, 42% of Americans were in favor of capital
punishment while 47% were opposed to it. Since the crime
rate United states has increased, support for the capital
punishment has followed suit. In 1986, support for capital
punishment was 80% for and only 17% against with 3%
undecided, but most of the undecided votes said they were
leaning toward a pro capital punishment stance, if they had
to vote on it immediately.
Let us now focus on Canada. The last two people to be
executed, in Canada were Arthur Lucas and Ron Turpin. They
were executed on December 11, 1962. The executions in
Canada were carried out by hanging. 

The death penalty was abolished in Canada in the latter
part of 1976, after a debate that lasted 98 hours. The
death penalty was only beaten by 6 votes. If we look back
to 1976, the year the death penalty was abolished in
Canada, threats of death, were being made to Members of
Parliament and their immediate families from pro death
penalty advocates. Most members of parliament, voted on
their own personal feelings, as opposed to the views of
their voters.
The same was the case in British Colombia, where accepting
of the death penalty, if it was reinstated 1987 , by the federal government was discussed. The M.P.s were split, 17
out of 29 were for the death penalty. This showed, that
even the majority of the M.P.s were in favor of the death
penalty in B.C. Support for the death penalty in British
Columbia at the time was almost 70%, but the M.P.s felt
that it was up to them to vote how they felt was right, and
not to vote on which vote would give them the best chance
for a second term.
In 1987, the Progressive Conservative government wanted to
hold a free vote on the reinstatement of Capital
punishment, but Justice minister Ray Hnatyshyn, who was
opposed to it, pressured the M.P.s, into voted against the
bill. Ray Hnatyshyn, was the deciding factor, if not for
him, it was widely believed that the reinstatement of
capital punishment would have gone through, and the death
penalty would be a reality today.
Capital punishment is such a volatile issue, and both sides
are so deeply rooted in their views that they are willing
to do almost anything to sway all of the people they can to
their side.
We personally feel, and our views are backed up by proof,
in the form of studies by the likes of Isaac Ehrlich's 1975
and Prof. Stephen K. Layson's, that was published in 1986,
and polls that have been taken both in Canada and the United States over the past few years. All of these studies
and surveys show that capital punishment is a valid
deterrent to crime, and obviously the public, and society
as a whole are in favor of it. The death penalty makes
would be capital offenders think about weather committing a
crime is really worth their lives. Even if capital
punishment did not deter crime, the simple fact that it
will allow society to "get even" with murders. Capital
punishment also insures peace of mind because it insures
that murders will never kill again.
Works Cited:
Take Notice, (Copp Clarke Pitman Ltd., 1979) page 163
Article written by David Vienneau published in the March
24, 1987 edition of the "Toronto Star", titled, Debate
Agonizing for MPs.
Article written by Kirk Makir, published in March 26, 1987
edition of the "Globe and Mail", titled, BC MPs Split on
Death Penalty Debate.
Article written by Hugh Winsor, published in April 29, 1987
edition of the "Globe and Mail", titled, Debate on Death
Penalty placed on hold.


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