The death penalty is a controversial topic in the United States today and has been for a number of years. The death penalty is currently legal in 38 states and two federal jurisdictions (Winters 97). The death penalty statutes were overturned and then reinstated in the United States during the 1970's due to questions concerning its fairness (Flanders 50). The death penalty began to be reinstated slowly, but the rate of executions has increased during the 1990's (Winters 103-107). There are a number of arguments in favor of the death penalty.

Many death penalty proponents feel that the death penalty reduces crime because it deters people from committing murder if they know that they will receive the death penalty if they are caught. Others in favor of the death penalty feel that even if it doesn't deter others from committing crimes, it will eliminate repeat offenders. Death penalty opponents feel that the death penalty actually leads to an increase in crime because the death penalty desensitizes people to violence, and it sends the message that violence is a suitable way to resolve conflicts. Death penalty opponents also condemn the death penalty because of the possibility of an innocent person being put to death, and because it can be unfairly applied. The death penalty is a controversial topic in the United States today and has been for a number of years.

The death penalty is currently legal in 38 states and two federal jurisdictions (Winters 97). The death penalty statutes were overturned and then reinstated in the United States during the 1970's due to questions concerning its fairness (Flanders 50). The death penalty began to be reinstated slowly, but the rate of executions has increased during the 1990's (Winters 103-107). There are a number of arguments in favor of the death penalty.

Many death penalty proponents feel that the death penalty reduces crime because it deters people from committing murder if they know that they will receive the death penalty if they are caught. Others in favor of the death penalty feel that even if it doesn't deter others from committing crimes, it will eliminate repeat offenders. Death penalty opponents feel that the death penalty actually leads to an increase in crime because the death penalty desensitizes people to violence, and it sends the message that violence is a suitable way to resolve conflicts. Death penalty opponents also condemn the death penalty because of the possibility of an innocent person being put to death, and because it can be unfairly applied.