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June 11, 2007

Anti-death penality advocates are not going to be happy

While I have argued for the death penality it has always been from a position dealing with the moral aspects. I find arguments dealing with the dp's efficacy as deterrent irrelevant.

However, for the anti-dp's who have argued against dp because "it deters no one!", bad news, buckos

What gets little notice, however, is a series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim to settle a once hotly debated argument — whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. The analyses say yes. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer. [...]

"Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it," said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. "The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect."

A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides. "The results are robust, they don't really go away," he said. "I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?"

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Posted by Darleen at June 11, 2007 12:07 AM


but how would time at hard labor, and i mean true hard labor, deter crime? it seems to me that life at hard labor would be worse than being killed. and if i was family to a victim of a murderer, i'd immeasurably prefer life at hard labor over the killer being put to death. just my two cents.

Posted by: Iko Chang at June 11, 2007 06:47 AM


Don't forget that the findings haven't achieved a consensus among the scientific community, as some statisticians have questioned the study's analysis:

Some claim that the pro-deterrent studies made profound mistakes in their methodology, so their results are untrustworthy. Another critic argues that the studies wrongly count all homicides, rather than just those homicides where a conviction could bring the death penalty. And several argue that there are simply too few executions each year in the United States to make a judgment.

I know from my own academic experience that sample size is hugely important in any statistical analysis, and it seems that the number of executions isn't statistically significant enough to draw any conclusions.

Posted by: Claire at June 11, 2007 11:18 AM

You're right I'm not happy.

Posted by: Carl W. Goss at June 11, 2007 08:53 PM

I wonder if this study will receive the same skepticism as that Lancet study, from the same circles. I'm guessing not.

Also, no "i" in "penalty".

Posted by: Josh at June 12, 2007 12:31 PM

I have often stated that the Death Penalty is 100% effective in eliminating repeat offenders.

Posted by: Jerry at June 15, 2007 10:35 PM