The Death Penalty: Avenue of Vengeance or Deterrent to Crime?
In the last decades, it appears at least, that the rate of violent crimes is on the rise. In most cases criminals who commit violent crimes are not thinking about the punishment they will receive. They are operating solely on the basis of fulfilling a personal need.
If the death penalty was an actual deterrent to violent crime, it would only make sense that the rate of violent crime would decrease. The only deterrent the death penalty provides is removing that specific individual from the face of the Earth; therefore deterring that specific individual from committing another crime. However, in the grand scheme of things it appears to have no effect at all in eliminating violent actions before they occur. The dual purpose then, is the legal retribution the death penalty gives the survivors of the victim.
The death penalty does not weigh on the mind of the criminal and it cannot serve to bring the victim back. However, we as a society and a legal system are willing to accept this sentence as a form of punishment doled out to the very bad apples of our society.
In the United States, a Death Row inmate is afforded many appeals. With the advance in technology, as long as someone that has a voice takes an interest in their case, it is fair to presume that they will have an opportunity to prove their innocence.
In the interim it would be pennywise to revamp the prison system and make inmates earn their keep as they would on the outside. The life of an inmate is not as easy as we would like to fool ourselves into thinking. For example, one of the most violent criminals in history, Gary Gilmore, begged for the death penalty as he could not stand to live his life out in prison. So what is the ultimate punishment?
From a cost-effective, clinical standpoint, it would also be advisable to study these individuals intensively to try to find common denominators that influence their creation. It would appear that we do not know enough about them to implement accurate intervention while there is still something worth saving in the accused.