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Economic Argument Against the Death Penalty

Arguments surrounding the death penalty tend toward the emotional and the moral. This is as it should be, for even the discipline of economics finds these elements to be variable factors integral to its equation-making process (Miller 670-71). This paper shall argue against the death penalty as employed in the United States--on economic grounds. In so doing, this argument will take under consideration the factors that contribute to the conclusion that the death penalty is an economically disastrous form of public policy.

The argument against the death penalty from the economic perspective centers upon the following sequential points of fact:

1) Death penalty trials run longer and involve more costs to the economy than non-death penalty prosecutions;

2) The lengthy appeals process incurred by death penalty sentences involves an average of seven years legal expenses charged to the public;

3) The costs of housing Death Row inmates is prohibitively more expensive than housing the noncondemned prison population;

4) There is no demonstrable proof that the death penalty reduces violent crime and thereby lessens the economic impact of crime;

5) The only way that the death penalty could be made economically feasible would be to revamp the American system of jurisprudence and the philosophical system of justice upon which it is based.

Economic arguments against the death penalty begin with a non-statistical fact of life: no one likes to die.

Do no go gentle into that good night,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

In writing these lines the poet Dylan Thomas captured precisely the survival instinct that guides humankind. Why, then, should it be a surprise that a person condemned to death should not employ every means within one's power to fight that sentence? The first and most persuasive economic argument against the death penalty as employed in the United States is that--by running ...

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Economic Argument Against the Death Penalty. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:11, February 26, 2017, from