There is no sociological evidence that would lead one to conclude that the death penalty is a sucessful deterrent to violent crime.
U.S. states without the death penalty have a lower rate of homicide than those states that do have it. This holds true even when comparing states that are similar demographically.
The U.S. which HAS the death penalty, has a much higher homicide rate than any other Western industrialized nation--and almost zero of those other countries have the death penalty.
But what could account for these statistics? Our common sense tells us that the death penalty SHOULD deter crime, shouldn't it? Here's why that common sense logic is very often wrong:
Deterrent compared to what? Sometimes adding onto a an already stiff penalty adds no deterrent effect. Let's take something smaller as an example. If the thought of five years in prison didn't deter you from stealing something, would the possiblity of six years deter you? Likewise, if life in prison, or 20 to 40 in prison, or some other penalty doesn't deter you from committing a crime, why would death?
Someone who chooses to kill already is willing to risk death! If you try and kill someone, it is always possible your crime doesn't go perfectly. And a victim confronted by the possiblity of his or her death will most definitely use lethal force to stop you if he or she can. Also, a family member or friend may take revenge on you outside the bounds of the law, or even intercede as you commit the crime and kill you. So the person who is committing a capital crime is already willing to risk death (or welcomes death, as in the 9/11 hijackers' case)
Many capital crimes can't be deterred because they take place in the "heat of passion" or under the influence of one or more drugs.
There is anecdotal evidence that the death penalty causes MORE crime--if a criminal is most likely going to be killed if he turns himself in, then he actually has a motive to kill more people to keep from being caught. The death penalty gives him "nothing to lose."
The most likely deterrent of crime, from the sociological evidence, is a higher certainty of being caught and convicted of your crime. Heck, even a 15-year sentence would deter most people who are CAPABLE OF BEING DETERRED. But most criminals think they won't be caught. And the "crimes solved" rate is really atrocious, even if you limit the cases to murder. Don't believe everything you see on CSI.
There are no sure ways to keep people from doing what they want to do, but it is better to teach people not to steal,and it is better to have the death penalty then not to have it,then we can only hope that it works with some of the people there are no guarantee's when it comes to mankind.
Sometimes adding onto a an already stiff penalty adds no deterrent effect. Let's take something smaller as an example. If the thought of five years in prison didn't deter you from stealing something, would the possiblity of six years deter you?
You can still be free after six years. Kinda hard to go back to doing what you were doing if we kill you.
Likewise, if life in prison, or 20 to 40 in prison, or some other penalty doesn't deter you from committing a crime, why would death?
Those people are sociopaths and should be removed from society ... permanently ... because while it doesn't emotionally deter them ... IT ... STOPS ... THEM.
The death penalty gives him "nothing to lose.
But ... we ... do.
The most likely deterrent of crime, from the sociological evidence, is a higher certainty of being caught and convicted of your crime.
The most likely deterrent is actually giving the non-sociopaths something more productive to do with their day. The death penalty does not reduce "crime" (well, it does ... it reduces how many crimes the criminal is going to do), but neither does any other type of punishment. In order to be punished, you must at least be thought to have done the crime to start with. Punishment is not meant to prevent "crime" from a national or whatever statistical standpoint ... punishment is supposed to put consequences on someone who broke the rules ALREADY.
Knock and the door shall open. It's not my fault if you don't like the decor.