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The death penalty seems to be a controversial issue for most people Supporters claim that it eliminates repeat offenders deters potential murderers and is the ultimate retribution Opponents denounce it as murder say that it does not cause deterrence but rather promotes violence and claim that it introduces the chance of an innocent person being executed Of all the arguments presented by both sides one seems to be more compelling and crucial than the rest-deterrence Will the use of the death penalty cause potential murderers to be less likely to commit murder Deterrence may sound like a dull word but think of the implications If the death penalty really causes deterrence then using it decreases the number of murders and saves lives If the death penalty saves lives then we should use it more often to protect innocent victims Why wait why complain about the violence of it if our friends neighbors parents and children can be saved by punishing those we know to be guilty On the other hand if the death penalty does not cause deterrence if it does not save lives then it may be of questionable value at all As figure 1 points out deterrence is a big factor in public support for capital punishment This essay undertakes the question of whether or not the death penalty causes deterrence It looks at the history of the death penalty in the United States analyzes other studies about the death penalty and deterrence and uses a simple empirical approach to test whether or not the death penalty detersCapital punishment has been used since ancient times to punish a variety of offenses From the beginnings of the United States it was the mandatory punishment for a number of crimes However as time went on the death penalty faced a number challenges A small minority began to question whether the death penalty was right Although most Americans still supported it sometimes these people would end
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