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Word Count: 703
To Live or Let Die There have been many controversies in the history of the United States but capital punishment has been one of the most contested issues in decades Capital punishment is by definition the execution of a person convicted of committing a crime so heinous that no other punishment fits the crime The opponents prefer life without parole as an alternative to the death penalty However the death penalty holds advantages for the general public over life without parole in the areas of deterrence cost and just punishment The first advantage is the deterrence of future criminals Since the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was a legitimate punishment in 1976 crime rate in states such as California and Texas that uphold the death penalty have decreased According to the US Justice Department the violent crime rate in Texas has dropped over thirty percent In addition to the decrease in crime rates the number of death sentences being carried out has increased instilling the fear in would-be criminals of being severely punished for their actions On the other end of the spectrum the US Justice Department has shown that states such as Alaska and West Virginia that do not have the death penalty have had an increase in crime rates of around thirty percent This supports the idea that the fear of being punished is not there for those criminals Unfortunately the death penalty is currently used so rarely that it isnt nearly as effective as it could be The next advantage is the cost to maintain these criminals in state or federal prisons The price to keep a person on death row is paid by the taxpayers which includes the victims families The average time on death row reported by the US Department of Justice is 8 years costing approximately 60000 per year for a total of 188 million Carrying out the execution provides more space for prisoners that are
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