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Several initiatives such as community service, long term imprisonment and death penalty have been proposed and even enforced by most state machinery with the goal of mitigating or completely eliminating crime. Death penalty or capital punishment, however, has been welcomed with mixed reactions. On the one hand, the proponents are of the view that capital punishment provides a deterrent effect to criminals and consequently reducing the crime rates while on the other hand, the naysayers think that capital punishment has fueled the rates of homicides. Therefore, this paper will scrutinize the effects of increased capital convictions in the United States of America and other avenues that can be explored with regard to curbing organized crimes.
Ramifications of Capital Punishment, Pros and Cons
Most of those who rally behind capital punishment reason that it is economical since spares a countries budget which could otherwise be spent on an imprisoned hardcore criminal. The logistics that are necessary in running a prison can be cut if capital punishment is implemented since it acts as a deterrent or eliminates homicides in the United States of America.
Statistical data analysis of capital punishment, however, is crucial in informing conclusions and decisions on meting out punishment in the event of uncertainty. According to Bonner and Fessenden (2000), a survey by New York Times indicated that the rate of homicides in pro capital punishment states like Texas, North Carolina and Florida has been between 48-101 percent above anti capital punishment states. The state of Florida, for instance, spent between 25-50 million dollars in a year more than the amount that could have been spent on life sentences without parole.
Furthermore, financial statistics seem to discredit death penalty contrary to what proponents of capital punishment think. The cost of obtaining executions varies from 2.5-5 million dollars for each case relative to less than 1 million dollars for a murderer serving life sentence without parole. In order to properly utilize the approximately 5 million dollars, a state would consider to create employment for more judges, prosecutors and detectives to intercept and incarcerate criminals who because of inadequate law-enforcement infrastructure, escape justice. (Fagan, 2012)
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In addition, many criminologists have bashed the deterrent theory of Ehrlich which is of the view that before committing murder, an individual will contemplate between the legality and illegality of his or her actions while considering the threat of execution. In a study authored by Radelet and Lacock (2009), a staggering 88 percent of the criminologists contacted did not buy the idea that death penalty proved deterrent to homicides, rather, they were unanimous on the conclusion that death penalty does not deter homicidal activities. The study concluded that, “the consensus among criminologists is that the death penalty does not add any significant deterrent effect above that of long-term imprisonment.” (Radelet & Lacock, 2009 p. 504)
It is imperative, however, to note that crime is a reality that every society grapples with and as much as the debate concerning death penalty goes on, other avenues need to be sought and enforced to curb other organized criminal activities that operate even at cross border levels. One of the strategies is the introduction of leniency programs which lower sanctions for criminals that give information concerning their accomplices to a law enforcement agency. Moreover, criminal gangs like mafias require well organized operations with comprehensive intelligence to counter their orchestrated crimes. In addition, other disrupting and deterrent strategies that make it cumbersome for organized gangs to operate. This strategy though will require integration and or collaboration with other institutions in order to create a robust environment that will counter well engineered crimes.