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Capital Punishment is the execution of criminals found guilty of heinous crimes. All democracies have abandoned the death penalty, with the exception of Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

Death Penalty[]

Death penalty issue for United States.


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." - Preamble to the Declaration of Independance

Dissent: I hold those as false hypotheses: men are not created equal, there is no creator, there are no such things as "unalienable rights".

As stated in the Declaration of Independance, all men are endowed with the right to life. When someone makes the choice to harm another, do they give up their rights? By incarcerating them we take away their right to liberty and pursuit of happiness, does the government also have the right to take away their right to life?


While economics shouldn't be a measuring factor in the decision to take someone's life, the cost of executing a convicted felon is more than incarcerating them for life. This is due to the numerous appeals process that goes on for the lengthy time that a death row inmate is incarcerated...

Pro Capital Punishment[]


  • Capital punishment is used to prevent crimes as well as punish them. The fact that we have capital punishment serves as a way to deter major crimes. Even if numbers do not agree, tell that to the victims of a killer who went through with his crimes only after knowing that he would not be killed for his actions and could spend the rest of his life if caught behind bars being fed, given shelter, and even some books/TV.
  • Keeping a terrible criminal in prison for life forces society, but more importantly the victims family, to pay for their food and shelter. Thus, the victim's family would actually be supporting the killers survival through taxation (no matter the cost).
  • Leaving a criminal behind bars who is serving life (simply due to the fact that there is no capital punishment legal in the state the crimes were committed in) leaves the possibility open that someday they may walk freely outside. Even the best prisons have had their escapes. This makes it tough for the family of the victims to sleep at night. In addition, even going as far as governmental changes in the U.S. could lead to an undeserved pardon.
  • The "right" to life is protected by society and its laws, however a criminal forfeits society's protection when he/she goes against it.
  • A quick death is more humane than a torturous life imprisonment. Society should not inflict prolongued suffering on anyone, including criminals.


  • The argument "Keeping a terrible criminal in prison for life forces society, but more importantly the victims family, to pay for their food and shelter. Thus, the victim's family would actually be supporting the killers survival through taxation (no matter the cost)" is flawed because that could be said for any crime. Should a woman who got raped have to pay taxes? Do we need to exempt people from taxes if they were once the victim of a crime? Also, the argument that we should execute people because they could somehome miraculously escape is not rational. Prison escape is extremely rare and it doesnt happen from the high security prisons that killers go to.
  • a criminal forfeits society's protection Unalienable rights cannot be forfeited by definition. However, this would seem also to apply to liberty, making imprisonment similarly contrary to the Declaration. A solution that follows both constraints is Exile. The Declaration's unalienable rights do not include the right to society itself.
  • Society should not apply a criminal's standards on anyone, including the criminal himself.

Opposed to Capital Punishment[]

  • If there is such a thing as an "unalienable right to life" then that right should especially not be infringed by the government.
  • Killing except in self defense is murder, therefore capital punishment is also murder.
  • Executing anyone does not repair any damage that is done, but is only a method of revenge, which should not be encouraged.
  • One innocent executed is one too many. We have incarcerated far too many innocents to know that the system is not infallible.
  • Death sentences are not applied fairly and are racially biased. People on death row are typically poor so could not provide for an adequate defense, and they are also disproportinately African-American or Hispanic.
  • State-sanctioned violence can promote a culture of more violence among the general population.
  • The death penalty is not a better deterrent than life inprisonment.

States employing the death penalty have a statistically higher murder rate than states which don't.[1] Some studies point to these numbers as evidence that the death penalty is ineffective as a deterrent. Also, most would argue that a quick death is a lesser sentence than life in prison without parole. (Of course, most death row inmates seek a life sentence, while almost no one has every requested the death penalty.) Therefore, the only real purpose of the death penalty is purely retributive in nature. An enlightened society such as ours that claims to adhere to higher standards of morality should not take a life for revenge.

Executing Innocents[]

13 innocents have been released from death row in Illinois since 1987. Source: Illinois Wrongful Capital Murer Convictions


  • Exile The life of the criminal is not taken, but society is no longer burdened with incarcerating the criminal. The criminal's right to life is balanced with the rest of society's right to choose who will be a member of society. (This right isn't addressed explicitly, but is implicit in immigration law and can conceivably be extrapolated to native born citizens who abrogate their rights through criminal behaviour.)