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The practice of putting certain convicted felons to death is a precedent that dates far back to early civilization Unfortunately it has become a very controversial issue in the United States over the last century The death penalty was put into place for a number of reasons but the biggest being the deterrent effect of capital punishment Some would say that the death penalty does not deter murder In 1985 economist Stephen K Layson at the University of North Carolina published a study that showed that every execution of a murderer deters on average 18 murders The study also showed that raising the number of death sentences by one percent would prevent 105 murders However only 38 percent of all murder cases result in a death sentence and of those only 01 percent are actually executed During the temporary suspension on capital punishment from 1972-1976 researchers gathered murder statistics across the country Researcher Karl Spence of Texas AM University came up with these statistics in 1960 there were 56 executions in the USA and 9140 murders By 1964 when there were only 15 executions the number of murders had risen to 9250 In 1969 there were no executions and 14590 murders and 1975 after six more years without executions 20510 murders occurred So the number of murders grew as the number of executions shrank More recently there were 56 executions in the USA in 1995 the most in one year since executions resumed in 1976 and there has been a 12 percent drop in the murder rate nationwide JFA Justice for All reports that in Texas the highest murder rate in Houston Harris County occurred in 1981 with 701 murders Since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1982 Harris County has executed more murderers than any other city or state in the union and has seen the greatest reduction in murder from 701 in 1982 down to 261 in 1996 - a 63 reductionAnti-Capital Punishment
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