6/10/2007

Innocent life is saved by the death penalty

I never liked any publicity surrounding death penalty, nor I liked to discuss about it. This subject are just too heavy to debate about, for anybody. In my mind however, I think death penalty is fair and it will deter crime and reduce homicides.
Some recent studies have shown that as many as 18 lives would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer. Need I say more ?

5 comments:

Mike said...

I'm generally not for the death penalty becuse of all the mistakes that our so called justice system can generate. The Innocence Project that gets "convicted" people freed because of DNA evidence is just one example.
The death penalty has more to do with revenge than it does with justice.

Bilbo said...

This is, of course, a very emotionally-charged issue, and I am sure that both supporters and opponents of the death penalty can produce statistical evidence to support their positions. I am personally not opposed to the death penalty, although I believe it should be reserved for the most heinous crimes performed by the most brutal and incorrigible criminals...and then only after guilt has been conclusively proven. After all, you can release someone from jail if he (or she) is unjustly imprisoned, but an execution is difficult to undo. Bilbo.

khengsiong said...

"Some recent studies have shown that as many as 18 lives would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer."

I suppose a comparison has to be made before we can draw this conclusion. For example: compared to 10-year jail term, every execution can save 18 lives.

But how about life-imprisonment? Will death penalty make a huge difference when compared to life-imprisonment? If life-imprisonment can save 17 lives, do we still need death penalty?

sokbrok said...

The death penalty can be a deterrent from crime, but it can be a deterrant from other things too. There are many reports of the death penalty being used in China to suppress dissent.

More numbers:

Since 1973, 124 prisoners have been released in the USA after evidence emerged of their innocence of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death.

Nine countries since 1990 are known to have executed 53 prisoners who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime.

One child offender was executed in Iran on 27 May 2007.

129 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

68 other countries and territories retain and use the death penalty, but the number of countries which actually execute prisoners in any one year is much smaller.

Jay Livingston said...

These studies are not nearly as solid as they are reported to be. Here's one example: In the 18-lives-saved study, the authors used a measure of political affiliation because thought, probably correctly, that the more Republican a state is, the more it would use the death penalty, while it was unlikely that Republican voting would affect the murder rate.

They constructed six different variables, each based on the Republican share of the state's vote in six different elections.

If instead you use a single variable --the Republican vote in the most recent presidential election -- the results flip completely. Instead of each execution being associated with 18 fewer murders, now each execution is associated with 18 more murders.

The question is not which measure of political context is the correct one. The point rather is that when you have a result as sensitive as this one is to a very slight change in the way you measure one variable, it's not a very robust finding. It's certainly not solid enough to make you want to go out and execute a lot more people.

(See DONOHUE & WOLFERS 58 STAN. L. REV. 791)