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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136803 Find in a Library
Title: Costliest Punishment: A Corrections Administrator Contemplates the Death Penalty
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:56  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1992)  Pages:11-15
Author(s): P W Keve
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
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United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article, written by a former director of corrections departments in Delaware and Minnesota, argues against the death penalty based on its costs, failure to deter capital crimes, and its irreverence for life.
Abstract: The United States, contrary to the general trend among nations throughout the world, is maintaining its death penalty. There are growing numbers of prisoners on its death rows, but simultaneously there is a general reluctance to execute the death row inmates. The public is generally unaware of the cost of capital punishment procedures compared with the cost of life imprisonment. Given the greater court costs and the cost of maintaining lengthy death row stays, the death penalty is far more costly than life imprisonment. There is no evidence that the costs of the capital sentence are justified by its deterrence effectiveness. Efforts to reduce the costs and length of appeals in capital punishment cases must be resisted, because even with all the presumed safeguards, there are still many instances of wrongful convictions. The death penalty does not serve the interests of victims' families, because it involves prolonged anguish over years of appeals and successive execution dates. The most persuasive argument against capital punishment, however, is that a greater respect for human life is not fostered by the ritualized taking of human life. 20 footnotes
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Corrections costs; Deterrence effectiveness
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