Is America on the wrong side of the death penalty debate? The worldwide wide trend is against the death penalty: more than half the countries in the world have abolished it, including more than 30 nations since 1990. So why do we have a death penalty in America? Is it to deter people from committing murder? If so, does it work? Or is the death penalty fundamentally a matter of justice, of punishing appropriately those guilty of the worst crimes?