An Ineffective Solution: The Death Penalty

EDITOR, The Tribune.

I would like to commend Archbishop Pinder, and the Catholic bishops of the Caribbean for taking the moral stand in calling for the abolition of the death penalty.

In addition to the moral and principled arguments advanced by the bishops, the argument can be made that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent to murders, and therefore its use ought to be discontinued. I will use statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to make the case.

Capital punishment is legal as a federal remedy in the United States, but many states have abolished capital punishment at the state level. An examination of the murder rates for the US reveal that those states that have abolished the death penalty, have significantly lower murder rates than those states that have retained the death penalty.

What is perhaps more significant is the fact, that the murder rates in the states which abolished the death penalty are lower today, than they were when those states maintained the death penalty and executed killers. This is not what one would expect, if capital punishment was an effective deterrent to crimes of murder.

The FBI statistics also reveal that those states which have retained the death penalty, and are most active in executing convicted killers, also have the highest murder rates. Again this is not what one would expect if executing convicted killers, deterred others from committing murder.

What is true for the US, appear to be true world wide. Countries that have abolished the death penalty, generally have lower murder rates, while countries which maintain capital punishment, generally have higher murder rates.

I understand the concerns of the Bahamian people regarding the unacceptable levels of violence and murders that have become commonplace, but as a people, we must not fall for the notion that executing convicted killers will solve our problems. State executions have not solved the problem in any other country, and state executions will not solve our problem.



November 18, 2016.


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