Capital Punishment as Deterrence to Homicide

Counter research argues that different research techniques give different results. Murder trials in the United States cost millions of dollars. There has been the pressure that this cost should result in a deterrent effect on potential criminals. The deterrence theory argues that criminals weight the cost and the benefits of any criminal venture.Although deemed a controversial topic by many, the use of capital punishment, or in other words, the death sentence, is a widely used method of punishing convicts in homicidal crimes. The use of the death sentence has the notoriety of being an inhumane and barbaric form of justice. On the other hand, many believe that it is the consequence that is rightfully deserved to people who commit murder. Either way, the effectiveness of the death penalty is a highly debated topic due to its correlation with decreasing the rates of homicide. Homicide rates in the US reached a whopping 5.5 deaths per 100,000 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). An effective method of preventing such crimes is needed to decrease these haunting statistics. Capital punishment not only plants the fear of death in potential criminals but also is comforting to victims’ families.Before explaining how capital retribution is effective in lowering the rates of homicide, the history of capital punishment should be taken into consideration. The establishment of the death punishment laws dates back to 18th B.C. in the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon. The Babylonians codified the death sentence for 25 dissimilar atrocities (Randa, 1997). According to Randa, hanging was the method of capital punishment in the UK by the 10th century. The number of death sentences in the UK had been on the rise for the last 2 centuries. In the UK alone, roughly 200 crimes were punishable through a death sentence. According to Ehrlich, Britain had to remove about a hundred crimes from the list of capital punishment by the 19th century.Britain contributed to the establishment of capital punishment in the US more than other nations. The European settlers had introduced death punishment in the new world. Captain George was the first to be executed in the new colonies, in 1608. This occurred in Jamestown Virginia. He was accused of being a spy for the Spaniards (McCafferty, 2009). In the US, the use of capital punishment became applicable to the most heinous of crimes, such as homicide (Ehrlich, 2006).