Paternoster reviews the history of execution in the US, the laws concerning capital punishment, and the arguments for and against the death penalty. He shows that the cost of executing a prisoner may actually be higher than jailing him for life, and that capital punishment as a deterrant is ineffective. Life imprisonment, he argues, without the possibility of parole and with mandatory restitution to the victim's family is a more effective policy than the death penalty. This sentence punishes the criminal, protects the public, save the taxpayer money and may ease the financial suffering of the victim's survivors. More importantly, such a policy would ensure that the goverment does not execute innocent people.