As a punishment for our most serious crimethe intentional killing of a victim in an egregious waythe death penalty naturally attracts opposing moral views. One view says that the state should never execute a criminal no matter what the crime may be. The other view requires execution as justice is sought for the victim. This book considers a third possible view: capital punishment should be judged by its pragmatic value to society. Does the prospect of possible execution save lives by deterring the act of murder? Heilbrun presents evidence concerning whether state death penalties demonstrate the two necessary properties of a true deterrent: a reduction in intentional killing when present and an increase when removed. The Case for Capital Punishment contains an analysis of rarely-considered factors that influence the deterrence of murder and a discussion of the common criticisms of capital punishment.
Case for Capital Punishment