In President Trump’s recent speech, he talked about a new plan to fight the opioid crisis going on in the United States. His plan includes stricter penalties for drug traffickers, such as the death penalty. For years Donald Trump has commented on various cases against high profile criminals, saying this country needs the death penalty. In a NY Times article, writer Maya Rhodan listed the different times Trump wanted there to be quick trials that he said should end with the criminal getting the death penalty. For example, during the case of the Boston Marathon Bomber, Trump wrote on his Twitter that there should be a quick trial, then death penalty, (Rhodan, 2018). But would the death penalty for drug traffickers make a difference?
“A Death Penalty and War on Drugs”Get custom essay
Many argue that it is a bad strategy and would have no impact. Our textbook discusses the death penalty and the different views on it. On page 224 of our text, Figure 9.3 shows us a graph of the number of executions that took place between 1930 to 2012. During the mid-1960’s to the end of the 70’s, the death penalty was scarce, and that homicide rates increased dramatically. Figure 9.4 on page 225 shows us which states in the US have the death penalty and which states do not. Every year, the CDC compiles a list and chart of the average homicide rates per state per 100,000 people. In 2016, the average rate of homicide for the states with the death penalty was 6.3, whereas the states without the death penalty was lower at an average of 4.4. In fact, out of the top 5 states with the highest homicide rates, only one does not have the death penalty. This shows us that having the death penalty has not caused a decrease in homicides. With this data, people can argue that having the death penalty for drug dealers will not have any impact.
At first, giving the death penalty for drug dealers who have caused people to overdose sounds like a good idea. One question that arises is, for doctors who prescribe opioids to patients who end up overdosing, would they be considered in getting the death penalty as well? Sales of prescription opioids in the U.S. nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2014,1but there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain Americans report.2,3During this time period, prescription opioid overdose deaths increased similarly, (Opioid Overdose, 2017). Almost all the states with the highest number of prescriptions per 100 people, are ones with the death penalty. In 2012, health care providers in the highest-prescribing state wrote almost 3 times as many opioid prescriptions per person as those in the lowest prescribing state, (Opioid Overdose, 2017).
Our textbook gives arguments for the death penalty and arguments against the death penalty. At a quick glance, we can see that there are more arguments against it. For example, there is the possibility of error, race and gender bias, it causes more crime, it has little deterrent effect, etc. For the possibility of error, in recent research, Samuel Gross and his colleagues estimates that 1 in 25 death row inmates is innocent, (Siegel & Worrall, 2017, p.226). Not only that, but it is believed that the death penalty causes more violence, such as the brutalization effect. The brutalization effect is an outcome of capital punishment that enhances, rather than deters, the level of violence in society. The death penalty reinforces the view that violence is an appropriate response to provocation, (Siegel & Worrall, 2017, p.228). It gives some people the thought that if someone was able to execute a criminal, then they would be able to execute/kill someone.
President Trump wants penalties against drug dealers to become stricter, by enforcing the drug penalty. However, from past research, it is obvious that the death penalty does not work. Even jail time does not always help. Sentencing some drug dealers to death won’t stop people from getting their hands-on drugs. If there was easier access to rehabs or treatments for those suffering with addiction, the number of overdoses would decline. Many rehabs are extremely expensive, and some rehab centers are unhelpful. Narcotics Anonymous can only do so much for people. I had attended NA groups in the past and continued to see some of the same people continuously relapse. I had friends who have overdosed and survived, but that near-death experience did not stop them from continuing their path in drug use. I believe President Trump needs to focus less on a death penalty and more on making rehabs and treatments more affordable and accessible for those in need.
A Death Penalty And War On Drugs. (2019, Jun 23).
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