Back to News & Commentary

Debunking the Deterrence Myth. Again.

Share This Page
March 14, 2008

Today, Capital Punishment Project Staff Attorney Brian Stull authored an op-ed for the Charlotte Observer in response to a recent column in which the writer advocated the death penalty because it’s “tough on crime” and deters future crimes. Nothing could be further from the truth. Brian writes:

It is nonsensical to imagine that a would-be murderer pauses to contemplate the availability of the death penalty in the moments before deciding whether to kill.

…[B]eing “tough on crime” too often means convicting the wrong person. It too often means stubborn adherence to unreliable police tactics and junk forensic science. According to the Innocence Project, an amazing 75 percent of wrongful convictions involve misidentification, yet all but three states continue to use the same unreliable identification procedures that led to these grave mistakes. Twenty-five percent of wrongful convictions result from false confessions. A “tough on crime” environment puts pressure on police that leads them to rely on snitches who testify for favors.

You can learn more about the convictions of innocent defendants on the Capital Punishment Project’s webpage.

Learn More About the Issues on This Page