Paragraph Completion- The Death Penalty

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Paragraph Completion - The Death Penalty

The expenditure of time, money and sparse judicial and prosecutorial resources is often justified by claims of a powerful deterrent message embodied in the ultimate punishment- the death penalty. But studies repeatedly suggest that there is no meaningful deterrent effect associated with the death penalty and further, any deterrent impact is no doubt greatly diluted by the amount of time that inevitably passes between the time of the conduct and the punishment. In 2010, the average time between sentencing and execution in the United States averaged nearly 15 years.

  1. A single federal death penalty case in Philadelphia was found to cost upwards of $10 million — eight times higher than the cost of trying a death eligible case where prosecutors seek only life imprisonment.
  2. The ethics of the issue aside, it is questionable whether seeking the death penalty is ever worth the time and resources that it takes to sentence someone to death.
  3. Apart from delaying justice, the death penalty diverts resources that could be used to help the victims’ families heal.
  4. A much more effective deterrent would be a sentence of life imprisonment imposed close in time to the crime.

    • Correct Answer
      Choice D

    Detailed Solution

    This paragraph argues that resources spent-time, money and judiciary resources- are justified on the basis that the death penalty is a deterrent and questions whether it is indeed an effective deterrent. The author argues that it isn’t, and says that any deterrent impacts are diluted by the inordinate amount of time between the sentencing and execution. The penultimate line talks of the 15 year gap between sentencing and execution.

    We see that option A talks of the cost of handling a death penalty case. This is irrelevant to the main idea of this paragraph- the deterrent effect of death penalty. So, this option is ruled out.

    Option B again talks of the time and resources involved. As seen before, this paragraph starts by asking whether the resources spent have a deterrent effect. Option B is, therefore, ruled out.

    Option C starts a new idea altogether, i.e, how the resources used for the death penalty cases could be better utilized. Again, this is not a conclusion for the given paragraph.

    Option D is talks of a “much more effective deterrent”. This is the correct concluding line for the paragraph, as it ties in with the main idea of the paragraph of a punishment that is a “powerful deterrent”.

    Correct Answer: Choice (d)

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