The debate over the death penalty is being picked up again in the UK

Dr Tim Stanley, a research fellow in American History at Royal Holloway College, has a piece in the UK Telegraph. Among his points:

Opponents will point out that the death penalty is practiced in the states with the highest murder rates. This is true, but it doesn’t mean that executions don’t work – it just means that they take place where they are needed most. The states without the death penalty historically have lower than average levels of crime. When the death penalty was suspended nationwide from 1968 to 1976, murder rates went through the roof – except in those states. When the ban was lifted, the states that reintroduced the death penalty saw an astonishing 38 per cent fall in their murder rate over twenty years. Indeed, there is a statistical relationship between the growth in executions and the decline in murder. According to John Lott, author of Freedomnomics, “between 1991 and 2000, there were 9,114 fewer murders per year, while the number of executions per year rose by 71.” In his own studies, the only exception to this rule proved to be multiple victim public shootings, like the Virginia Tech Massacre. The reason is obvious: the perpetrators expect to die while carrying out their crime and invariably do. . . .

It is nice to see that Freedomnomics is getting some attention in the UK.

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