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Summary: In "The Death Penalty Deters Crime and Saves Lives" by David Muhlhausen, the author argues that most statistical studies that suggest that the death penalty does not deter crime do not tell the whole story. Instead, more advanced statistical analysis suggest that the death penalty does indeed deter violent crime in the United States. In order to advance his argument, Muhlhausen uses several academic journal articles which have shown positive correlations between the death penalty and the decrease of violent crime. Overall, Muhlhausen argues that the death penalty has become more and more successful in the modern era and should remain as a just punishment in America.
Application: I plan to use this article in the counterclaim section of my paper. I will be arguing that the death penalty is not a deterrent. So, I will use the information found in this article to provide an unbiased look at both sides of the argument. Then I will refute Muhlhausen's claims by citing evidence from other articles that contradict his argument.
Summary: The Death Penalty Information Center website has a large library of articles discussing the disadvantages of the death penalty in the United States. Each year the center publishes a yearly report where they discuss the current state of the death penalty--including how many people were executed and how much taxpayer money was spent housing inmates on death row. In addition to yearly reports, the DPIC website includes detailed reports on racial bias, class bias, and location bias when being faced with the death penalty. Finally, this site includes several narratives which describe wrongful convictions and cast doubt on the sanctity of our criminal justice system.
Application: This website will be invaluable to my argument. The site is curated to include hundreds of articles that discuss the history behind the death penalty and its current applications. I will use this site mostly to find historical facts about the death penalty and attempt to better understand why our country has chosen the death penalty as a means to enact justice against criminals.
Summary: In 'Considering the Death Penalty: Your Tax Dollars at Work" by Kelly Phillips Erb, the author discusses how tax dollars are used in order to aide a flawed criminal justice system that often botches executions or kills innocent people. Phillips Erb outlines the cost of each executive and discusses how much it would cost to send a criminal to prison for life instead of giving them the death penalty. When Phillips Erb crunches the numbers, she concludes that the death penalty is not a cost-effective investment and it actually costs more to sentence someone to death than it does to allow them to live in prison for the rest of their life.
Application: This article provides several statistics from state budgets which will help me show that the death penalty is not cost effective for state governments.
Summary: In "Where the Death Penalty Still Lives" by Emily Bazelon, the author discusses how the death penalty is disproportionately enforced in the United States. Instead of consistent sentencing, punishment is largely determined by your race and by where you are convicted of your crime. Bazelon highlights multiple examples of individuals who face a biased criminal justice system and do not receive true justice due to unfair applications of the death penalty. Overall, this article is a scathing critique of the modern American death penalty which Bazelon hopes will one day cease to exist.
Application: I will use this source in my research paper in two ways. First, I will use one or two of the anecdotes in order to add a compelling narrative which grabs the reader's attention. In addition, I will use Bazelon's statistics about where the death penalty takes place in America in order to support my argument that the death penalty should be abolished.