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Should the death penalty be abolished?
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The death penalty gives victims closure

Victims and their families deserve to know that their tormentors will pay for their crimes.

The Argument

If someone is a victim of a heinous crime, they must live with an enormous emotional burden. The knowledge of their tormentor's existence in prison only adds to this mental anguish. We cannot force victims and their families to live with this burden. The death penalty gives victims and co-victims assurance that a morally depraved person can never hurt them, or anyone else, again. If we sentence deserving criminals to the death penalty, victims and their families can find closure in knowing that justice has been done. Abolishing the death penalty would deprive victims of closure, leading to increased mental and emotional health issues. It would also decrease victims' overall satisfaction with the criminal justice system, which should consider their needs a top priority. For this reason, we should not abolish the death penalty.

Counter arguments

Although this line of reasoning rightly values victims' feelings, the death penalty does not necessarily alleviate their pain. On the contrary, seeking the death penalty is a long and stressful process. It often worsens the pain of victims and their families, reigniting their grief and interrupting their healing process. According to a University of Minnesota study, only 2.5% of co-victims reported finding increased closure because of the death penalty. The study also found that co-victims achieve greater physical and mental health after seeking life in prison sentences, not the death penalty. [1] The death penalty also creates more victims- the family and friends of executed prisoners. Like the original victim's family, they must mourn the unnatural death of a loved one.[2] In an attempt to soothe one family's pain, the death penalty creates an entirely new group of people who must resolve feelings of pain and grief. The death penalty is an ineffective solution for victims and their families. It does not alleviate grief, it simply gives grief to other people.



[P1] The existence of a criminal in prison brings anguish to victims and their families. [P2] If a criminal is executed, the victim will be able to find closure. [P3} For this reason, we should not abolish the death penalty.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020 at 18:35 UTC

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