The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Does the Death Penalty work?

Posted by pauaprincess on June 12, 2007

74 countries world wide use capital punishment ie the death penalty as a deterrent to serious crimes.  According to Amnesty International, in 2005 more than 2,148 people were sentenced to death in 53 countries.

New Zealand finally abolished the death penalty in 1961 with the axiom of better 11 guilty men live than one innocent man dies.  Our first execution took place in 1842 and the last in 1957.  Over that time span, there were 83 verified executions for Murder and one for Treason.  As I was born in 1968, the death penalty in my personal experience has always been something I hear about mostly from America and mostly with regard to famous cases like John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dalmer.

But, does the death penalty work?  Is the prospect of death a deterrant?  During my research I discovered there are various studies citing statistics in favour of death being a deterrant but there are equal numbers of studies stating the opposite, each claims to be definitive.  I found this testimony by Jeffrey Fagan (pdf form) to be very interesting. 

To weigh up the question, one has to first consider the various types of homicide.  While they all have the same result, murder is committed for a number of reasons and under a number of circumstances.  How many would be cold and calculated murders as opposed to crimes of “passion”committed in the heat of the moment? How many are committed by mentally disturbed people? How many of those are coldly calculated psycopathic murders?

Is someone who commits a murder in the heat of the moment likely to stop and consider the consequences?  Is a mentally disturbed person likely to consider the consequences?

How many people coldly calculate murder, weigh up the consequences and go ahead?  In my experience, that would have to be a small minority. 

It’s my experience, from what I have read and what I have seen via my work that most seem to be as a result of domestic violence and gang violence where the actual result was not intended. 

I’m glad personally we do not have the death penalty, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see certain evil people come to a stickey end, it doesn’t mean I don’t think people like serial killers and those who coldly take someone elses life for monetary gain don’t deserve to live.  I just don’t believe it’s possible that a majority of murderers stop and think about what they are doing or at the time believe that they are about to take a life.  I don’t believe that if we had the death penalty it would prevent murder, pure and simple.

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3 Responses to “Does the Death Penalty work?”

  1. Eelco said

    I don’t think death penalty works, just like jailtime doesn’t work. BTW I am someone who believes death penalty is very bad. Any country convicting someone to the death penalty, convicts someone to be murdered, isn’t that like doing exactly the same, only then legally?

  2. Yep, state sanctioned murder is no better than illegal murder in my eyes.

  3. Stolz said

    I don’t see the death penalty as a deterrent, and I don’t think a law allowing the death penalty would use this as a serious argument in its favour; I see it as a way of getting rid of John Wayne Gacys – serial killers and repeat murderers. I see no reason why we shouldn’t rid society of men like this. I certainly don’t like to think of them spending the rest of their lives in prison eating my tax dollars and taking up beds when our prisons are overflowing already. And by the way, good blog Princess! 😉

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