Capital punishment, otherwise known as the death penalty, has a long history. Today, however, the United States’ continued use of the death penalty sets it apart from other Western democracies. Questions remain about whether the death penalty actually deters crimes, or if the imposition of the penalty discriminates against the poor or minorities. Should the execution process be streamlined, or should there be additional safeguards that may cause the court process to take many years? Fully updated with recent statistics, legal opinions, and legislation, Capital Punishment, Second Edition, explores the many arguments—ethical, practical, and sociological—for and against the death penalty.