ibution.Capital punishment, is the execution of criminals by the state, forcommitting crimes, regarded so heinous, that this is the onlyacceptable punishment. Capital punishment does not only lower themurder rate, but it’s value as retribution alone is a good reason forhanding out death sentences. Support for the death penalty in theU.S. has risen to an average of 80% according to an article written byRichard Worsnop, entitled “Death penalty debate centres onRetribution”, this figure is slightly lower in Canada where supportfor the death penalty is at 72% of the population over 18 years ofage, as stated in article by Kirk Makir, in the March 26, 1987 editionof the Globe and Mail, titled “B.
C. MPs split on Death Penalty”.The death penalty deters murder by putting the fear of deathinto would be killers. A person is less likely to do something, if heor she thinks that harm will come to him. Another way the deathpenalty deters murder, is the fact that if the killer is dead, he willnot be able to kill again.
Most supporters of the death penalty feel that offenders shouldbe punished for their crimes, and that it does not matter whether itwill deter the crime rate. Supporters of the death penalty are infavour of making examples out of offenders, and that the threat ofdeath will be enough to deter the crime rate, but the crime rate isirrelevant.According to Isaac Ehrlich’s study, published on April 16,1976, eight murders are deterred for each execution that is carriedout in the U.S.A. He goes on to say, “If one execution of a guiltycapital murderer deters the murder of one innocent life, the executionis justified.” To most supporters of the death penalty, like Ehrlich,if even 1 life is saved, for countless executions of the guilty, it isa good reason for the death penalty. The theory that society engagesin murder when executing the guilty, is considered invalid by mostsupporters, including Ehrlich.
He feels that execution of convictedoffenders expresses the great value society places on innocent life.Isaac Ehrlich goes on to state that racism is also a point usedby death penalty advocates. We will use the U.S. as examples, sincewe can not look at the inmates on death row in Canada, because theirare laws in Canada that state that crime statistics can not be basedon race, also the fact that there are no inmates on death row inCanada. In the U.S. 16 out of 1000 whites arrested for murder aresentenced to death, while 12 of 1000 blacks arrested for murder weresentenced to death.
1.1% of black inmates on death row were executed,while 1.7% of white inmates will die.Another cry for racism, as according to Ehrlich, that is raisedby advocates of the death penalty is based on the colour of thevictim, for example “if the victim is white, it is more likely thatthe offender will get the death penalty than if the victim had beenblack”.
This is true, if you look at the actual number of people whoare murder. More people kill whites and get the death penalty, thenpeople who kill blacks and get the death penalty. The reason for thisis that more whites are killed, and the murders captured. Now if welook at the number of blacks killed it is a lot less, but you haveto look at these numbers proportionately. Percent wise it is almostthe same number for any race, so this is not the issue.In a 1986 study done by Professor Stephen K. Layson of theUniversity of North Carolina, the conclusions made by Ehrilich wereupdated, and showed to be a little on the low side as far as thedeterrence factor of capital punishment.
Professor Layson found that18 murders were deterred by each execution is the U.S. He also foundthat executions increases in probability of arrest, conviction, andother executions of heinous offenders.According to a statement issued by George C. Smith, Director ofLitigation, Washington Legal Foundation, titled “In Support of theDeath Penalty”, support for the death penalty has grown in the U.S.,as the crime rate increased.
In 1966, 42% of Americans were in favourof capital punishment while 47% were opposed to it. Since the crimerate United states has increased, support for the capital punishmenthas followed suit. In 1986, support for capital punishment was 80%for and only 17% against with 3% undecided, but most of the undecidedvotes 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 beexecuted, in Canada were Arthur Lucas and Ron Turpin. They wereexecuted on December 11, 1962. The executions in Canada were carriedout by hanging.
The death penalty was abolished in Canada in thelatter part of 1976, after a debate that lasted 98 hours. The deathpenalty was only beaten by 6 votes. If we look back to 1976, the yearthe death penalty was abolished in Canada, threats of death, werebeing made to Members of Parliament and their immediate families frompro death penalty advocates. Most members of parliament, voted ontheir own personal feelings, as opposed to the views of their voters.2The same was the case in British Colombia, where accepting ofthe death penalty, if it was reinstated 1987 , by the federalgovernment was discussed. The M.
P.s were split, 17 out of 29 were forthe death penalty. This showed, that even the majority of the M.
P.swere in favour of the death penalty in B.C. Support for the deathpenalty in British Columbia at the time was almost 70%, but the M.P.sfelt that it was up to them to vote how they felt was right, and notto vote on which vote would give them the best chance for a secondterm.
3In 1987, the Progressive Conservative government wanted to holda free vote on the reinstatement of Capital punishment, but Justiceminister 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 ofcapital punishment would have gone through, and the death penaltywould be a reality today.4Capital punishment is such a volatile issue, and both sides areso deeply rooted in their views that they are willing to do almostanything to sway all of the people they can to their side.
We personally feel, and our views are backed up by proof, inthe 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 havebeen taken both in Canada and the United States over the past fewyears. All of these studies and surveys show that capital punishmentis a valid deterrent to crime, and obviously the public, and societyas a whole are in favour of it. The death penalty makes would becapital offenders think about weather committing a crime is reallyworth 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 thatmurders will never kill again.—Works Cited1 From: Take Notice, (Copp Clarke Pitman Ltd.
, 1979) page 1632 From: Article written by David Vienneau published in the March 24,1987 edition of the “Toronto Star”, titled, Debate Agonizing for MPs.3 From: Article written by Kirk Makir, published in March 26, 1987edition of the “Globe and Mail”, titled, BC MPs Split on Death PenaltyDebate.4 From: Article written by Hugh Winsor, published in April 29, 1987edition of the “Globe and Mail”, titled, Debate on Death Penaltyplaced on hold.