This I Believe

Michael - Benson, Arizona
Entered on January 31, 2007

Is the death penalty good for the justice system?

I do not believe that the death penalty is good for the justice system. On the national nightly newscasts, I see criminals who are convicted of heinous crimes. My wife and I often debate the death penalty. It seems that a majority of the supports are looking for “Eye for an eye” justice. I personally think that the death penalty is too expensive, a missed chance for science, and not all that much of a deterrent to crime.

I don’t think a husband who finds his wife and her lover considers he may be put to death if he kills. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t know that it’s wrong. I’m sure most do know that it’s wrong. This leads me to the sociopath killer. This person feels uncontrollable urges to kill. They too don’t think about that they may be put to death if caught, but this criminal may not be aware that what they are doing is wrong. In both circumstances they have not thought about the death penalty. This leads you to what type of criminal is influenced by the death penalty. In my opinion the career violent criminal may be influenced. I believe they put great care in to not getting caught, but they are still committing the crime. This influence doesn’t make for a strong case for the death penalty. When these types of criminals are caught and put to death I believe it as missed chance for scientist to study and learn from these criminals.

I wonder what more we could have learned from Ted Bundy if he was still alive. I doubt if psychologists couldn’t benefit from interviewing Mr. Bundy. Additionally, I believe genetic scientists may some day find a gene that causes abhorrent behavior. I doubt Mr. Bundy’s remains would be a viable source of information. I realize that the prison systems are over crowded, but it’s still cheaper to house a criminal for life than it would be to pay for tying up the courts for twenty years or more.

Our justice system is set up in such a manner that even if a prisoner pleads guilty they are required to participate in the appeals process. They use all the resources of the court. It’s just cheaper to keep them in a cell and let them live out their natural lives. I know other prisoners take care of the death sentence themselves as in the case of Jeffery Dahmer.

In conclusion the death penalty is not effective as a deterrent to crime. The individuals that are committing the crimes usually aren’t thinking rationally. Unless the justice system is some how preserving the remains of these criminal’s genetic scientists can not benefit from these individuals as medical breakthroughs happen. Psychologists have no access to these individuals once they’re dead. Science can’t benefit from the death penalty. The death penalty is too expensive; I’d prefer to see my tax dollars spent in the most prudent manner possible.