Issues with Deterrence Argument & Capital Punishment

The main focus of Reimold’s argument is to disprove the deterrence argument. Reimold begins by showing how the deterrence argument is based on the premise that capital punishment is more likely to deter criminals than life in prison. Reimolds primary argument against the deterrence argument is as follows. Capital punishment is only a greater deterrent than another penalty if the other penalty doesn‘t already deter all those who are able to be deterred. (premise 1); people who commit crimes already face an array of risks and severe punishments.

(premise 2)Therefore, capital punishment is no more likely to deter criminals than any other relevant form of punishment, (conclusion) I think that there is an issue with this argument, The part of this argument that I find to be flawed is Premise 1. Reimold provides reasoning for this premise by saying that we should only practice capital punishment if it can be proven that another punishment, say life imprisonment, doesn‘t already deter all those that can be deterred.

I find issue with this premise because it sets an unreal standard for capital punishment lf Reimolds argument is to be believed, then he would ask us to somehow prove that life imprisonment doesn’t already deter everyone who can be deterred, As discussed in the readings it is almost impossible to prove this using statistical evidence. However, it seems obvious to me that at least a small number of people would be less inclined to commit murder were they faced with capital punishment than if they were simply faced with life imprisonment.

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Even if the addition of capital punishment only deters a small number of people (could be a much larger group) I believe that it should still be Viewed as a valuable option. My reason for this is that even if it only deters a handful of people Lhat still means that capital punishment has saved a handful of lives. This is the reason for my objection to Reimold’s argument.

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