The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment

Published: 2021-06-29 07:02:43
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The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment
Since 1977 when capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court, the U.S. has executed 1,099 people. There is much dispute about whether or not the death penalty is an effective deterrent of crime and the way the punishment affects the families involved. Some say that capital punishment provides closure for the victims' families and prevent future crimes from occurring. Others are greatly opposed to capital punishment; they say that crimes are going to occur whether or not the death penalty exists. Also, in many cases the death penalty does not provide closure. In fact, studies have shown the punishment prolongs the suffering for the victim and the families. Not only is the death penalty painful for the family of the victim, but it is distressing for all who are involved with the process. "The death penalty's impact reaches far beyond the victim and the executed. All who cross its path shoulder the burden of participating in the death of a human being." (Executions create more victims). Witnessing an execution can be detrimental to the health of the families involved and the guards that participate.
Capital punishment is designed to provide the families of the victims with closure. Knowing that the inmate suffered the same fate as their loved one is supposed to provide a sense of justice for the families. In reality though, capital punishment just prolongs their suffering. Capital punishment "forces a family to relive the murder with every appeal" (VICTIMS' FAMILIES & THE DEATH PENALTY), instead of taking the time to cope with the loss, the families are put through years of appeals. The process makes it difficult to get on with life when the families are constantly reminded of the loss. Not only does capital punishment extend the suffering for the victim's family, but it also provides a distraction from their real needs, not a solution. For those members of the family that only seek retribution, when the inmate is finally put to death it may leave them feeling angrier than ever. The inmate died, but to some this is the easy way out. After the death of a loved one, different people react in different ways. Some may only grieve the loss, while others will try to avenge it. When the beliefs of the family members are different, it often tears the family apart when they need each other most. Capital punishment may have started as a way to give the families of the victim's closure, but actually may "revictimize those families" (Goodwin An Argument Against Allowing the Families of the Murder Victims to Witness Executions).

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