Yes, I think it is. For many years capital punishment was thought to be a deterrent to crime. But lots of studies have been done and it's never been shown to be a deterrent. During the GHW Bush years I heard pro-capital punishment people finally admitting it wasn't a deterrent, and for a while their argument shifted, more honestly, to 'just desserts' and retribution.
But in more recent discussions, I see they're back to deterrent.
If you listen to how pro-death people talk about it, it sure sounds like retaliation!