Capital Punishment - for or Against

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Capital Punishment – For Or Against
Scott Cameron
Phase 4 Individual Project
ENGL125-1203B-08
Dana LaMantia

I’m sure you all have your thoughts on Capital Punishment, and whether you’re for or against it. I’d like to share a story with you about Donna Payant, a New York State Corrections Officer, and her killer. Lemuel Smith was an inmate where Donna worked; in 1976, he was sentenced to death for murdering a store owner and his employee, then kidnapping and murdering another woman before he was caught. However, his sentence was later converted to life in prison, sealing Donna’s fate five years later (Irvine, Kincaid,2003). My aim today is to share a few ideas that enforce capital punishment as an effective means of deterring heinous and horrific crimes, providing comfort for victims and their families, and saving the legal system money. Let’s start by taking a look at deterrence. Capital punishment can be looked at from the aspect of deterrence, which is discouraging individuals who may have the intention to participate in homicide. It is also a reference to the criminal, denoting that he may not commit a crime or participate in homicide. Deterrence is summed up by the deterrence theory (Siegel, 2012); this theory requires that individuals weigh the costs and rewards associated with different actions. It’s based on the premise that individuals will choose those actions that translate to greatest reward at lesser costs. The theory also proposes that crime is preferred when it is seen as yielding a greater reward at a lesser cost than conventional alternatives. In this case, capital punishment introduces the cost perspective; since nothing is costlier than life, criminals will be convinced that crime does not pay; this is referred to as general deterrence (Chandler, 2002). However, these actions would only be possible when the sanctions are…...

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