Since the the death penalty has not been carried out in Maryland since 2005 and is not anticipated to be used again, the debate over whether it should be abolished is almost academic ("House committee approves death penalty repeal" Mar. 8). However there is at least one compelling reason to retain it. If an individual now pleads guilty in a plea bargain to murder to avoid the death penalty, winding up with accepting life in prison without parole, serves justice. However without the death penalty, when the prisoner would plead guilty, instead of agreeing to life without parole, he or she will demand a lesser sentence and even for the most heinous crimes will be eligible one day for release.
The death penalty does not have to be carried out to change the psychology of the accused as far as probable punishment, but it will serve as an inducement to go for the lesser of two sentences, namely life without parole.
Nelson Marans, Silver SpringCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun