What Are Some Pros and Cons of the Death Penalty?

Many advocates of the death penalty believe that morality requires the death penalty for heinous crimes, that the practice is constitutional and it deters crime, while opponents often argue that it is too costly financially, it does not deter crime and too many innocent people are executed. Many opponents also argue that it is disproportionately applied to poor people, while advocates often claim that is a myth.

Many other pros for the death penalty are often cited, such as that the death penalty is necessary to protect prison inmates and staff, it is necessary to exact retribution on people convicted of murder and other crimes, it costs less to execute someone than to keep them in prison for life, and it does not cause physicians to violate the Hippocratic Oath because being executed is less painful and inhumane than spending one's life in prison. Supporters claim arguments contending that executions are unnecessarily painful or brutal are unfounded.

Other cons include that the death penalty is disproportionately applied to some races and it is unconstitutional. Other cons state it requires physicians to perform executions, eroding public confidence in the medical profession, and it amounts to "playing God." Executing people also decreases the time available for them to find spiritual salvation and to make amends, and it imposes too much hardship on the families of condemned prisoners.