Society benefits from death penalty

2012-04-23T00:10:03Z Society benefits from death penalty Daily Herald
April 23, 2012 12:10 am

Contributor Heidi Toth opened a hornet's nest with her editorial April 12 advocating against the death penalty. I want to mention some flaws in her argument.

She admits that mistakes in sentencing are rare and that there is conclusive evidence of the guilt of more than 90 percent of those on death row. The advent of DNA testing and the long appeals process makes it very unlikely that any innocent person will actually be executed.

Her statement that the death penalty is never a deterrent is false. Since only murderers who are sane and plan their crimes in advance are subject to the death penalty, these same individuals have the time and presence of mind to consider the death penalty while planning their murders. Murderers for hire and murderers for fun can be deterred. It definitely stops the same individual from killing again.

The strongest argument for the death penalty, however, is the added cost to society of keeping a person in prison for 20 years at a cost of more than $50,000 per year. The unnecessary and tragic death, financial and human loss, and heartache caused by each murder is a huge loss to society, and the $1 million public cost to provide that criminal with room, board and security for the rest of his life compounds the damage to society.

When many prisoners are now being released early because our prisons are overcrowded, society is benefitted by terminating inmates like Charles Manson, who has purposefully taken multiple lives, cannot be rehabilitated and has no right to public support.

• Michael Smith, Provo

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