The argument that surrounds the death penalty is extremely controversial. In any point or argument made, rebuttal is a given. Three important arguments in favor of the death penalty are; deterrence, retribution, and incapacitation. The death penalty is not as cost effective as life imprisonment. However, the victim's family could be willing to pay endless amounts of dollars just to see that offender's life taken. The debate between just and unjust is forever arguable because our society is so diverse.
As the number and severity of crimes are at their peak in today's society, the severity of the punishment is also as deadly. The punishment should fit the crime. Capital punishment is just because it can act as a deterrent to murder, can be retributive and incapacitates the offender.
The death penalty has an indirect effect on crime. Deterrence would be stronger if the death penalty were imposed more consistently and carried out more promptly. However, capital punishment has some impact on future murders, if only by stopping those who are executed from killing again. But that direct effect can be accomplished through lifetime imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The death penalty is a more effective deterrent that life in prison. Those who take a life should forfeit their own.
Life imprisonment is a lesser deterrent than the death penalty. Even though the offender is stripped of their freedom, they remain alive. That is not really fair to the victim and the victim's family, nor does it set an example for those who will commit murder. "Over forty percent of the persons on death row in 1992 were on probation, parole, or pretrial release at the time they murdered." (Dilulio) The death penalty has turned the tables on fear and put it back where it belongs, in the heart of the criminal. It has restored confidence in the criminal justice system. Our laws can and must take every responsible step to prevent others from enduring the heartache by families of the victim.