Across many nations in the world there was either a death penalty or at least had one at a time. The death penalty was used to punish people who broke the law. If we look at places who have the death penalty, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, which I can say are the world’s worst human rights violators, if the United States has the death penalty it puts the United States in the same area as these other places. I believe that the death penalty should be abolished in every state across the United States. In a book Lauri Friedman wrote called The Death Penalty, she says “Executions simply inject more violence into an already hostile American society.” Sometimes the death penalty can even be given to an innocent person because not enough information and evidence is made present. The cost of the Death Penalty is very expensive: “Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population” (DPIC).
For example, in Texas the death penalty cost almost three times more than putting someone in a high security jail for around forty years. In addition, it takes a significant amount of time for a case to be processed and to be sentenced to the death penalty. Then if you think about how long the United States takes to act in general, it is going to take time for the state to act and actually administrate the death penalty to the people on death row. Friedman emphasized that on an average it takes about ten to twenty years to execute a convicted criminal on death row. Now if we make this process quicker it could shorten the cost, but it would significantly increase the risk of executing an innocent person to the death penalty. This long process could be a good thing, but at the same time if we shorten it, it has many risk factors. Many Americans see the death penalty as taking a life for taking a life. Freidman quotes Pat Bane in her book saying, “In the aftermath of a murder, a family has two things to deal with- a crime and a death. The death penalty focuses on the crime and prevents us from grieving by encouraging us to hate it, it prolongs our rage.” The eighth amendment in the constitution of the United States prohibits the cruel and unusual punishment of a person. The death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment therefore should be abolished in every state in the United States. Now if a crime is not proven in full is it still right to administer the death penalty?
As I stated before, it is always possibly to give the death penalty to someone who is innocent. Do we know, as citizens, that every inmate on death row is guilty? in 2009, nine death row inmates were exonerated after courts decided there wasn’t enough evidence so they overturned it. As citizens we do not know these things for sure and it would be better to just administer someone to a life in prison than to murder someone who is innocent: “Sixty-three percent on Gallup Poll say an innocent person has been executed in the last five years” (Friedman). The United States is in violation of the United Nations by having the death penalty. More than 139 nations have abolished the death penalty. Most religious groups in the United States view the death penalty as an immoral and inhumane thing to do. Out of all the religious groups in the U.S, none and I repeat none, see the death penalty as a moral thing. Citizens, especially the government, should be more civil than to kill someone no matter what crime they have committed. That is why there are prisons.
I would rather see someone in jail than having to remember that an innocent is being killed. I personally believe that it would be worse to be in jail knowing what you did for the rest of your life than dying right off the bat. More and more countries are outlawing the death penalty, so why can’t the United States join this and be able to understand how inhumane it is? The ways of executing the death penalty is highly cruel and very unusual. Many are not aware of how this happens. The most common ways that some people are actually familiar with are by a lethal injections or electrocution. If you think about it, by killing an inmate can’t make the past disappear and it can’t bring back the person they murdered, so why exactly murder someone when you are really not changing anything?
Another quote by Lauri Freidman is “Executions simply inject more violence into an already hostile American society.” Americans, even authorizing people, always want to rush to get something done. They want to rush to execute the person in wrong, the criminal, as soon as they can. Even though they may be executing someone who has done nothing wrong, Americans just want to be able to see someone take the blame. They want to know it is over and by killing someone off or punishing someone in a cruel and unusual way could push what happened to the past. Studies have shown that the death penalty does not actually help crime in the United States. You would think by having a death penalty it was deter crime. According to a study done by Lynn Pasquerella show that murder rates go up after the United States administer the death penalty. (ERIC.ED.GOV).
My uncle who worked in the industry told me that convicts actually do not fear the death penalty due to it being a quick escape, instead in fact they fear life in prison more because they will have the thoughts of what exactly they did and it will drive them crazy. Can the death penalty be racially influenced? Well Lynn Pasquerella says that “the death penalty is degrading to human dignity and is also implemented with racial and gender biases.” In 1990, almost 80% of capital punishment was racially influenced. If you murdered a Caucasian citizen, you were mostly likely going to be sentenced to a cruel and unusual punishment. If it is not an equal punishment, why should we even do it? Especially in the world today where race is a huge controversy. The United States want equality and if that is not happening in the death penalty there shouldn’t be a death penalty. Ever since the death penalty was reinstated in 1974, one thousand two hundred and thirty-eight people have been executed. In Mississippi it took about 10 years for someone to be executed. In the United States only about a thousand people were executed. Now, that may seem like a lot, but with billion people in the world it is not, so why if the death penalty was in such little usage, why do we need it?
The death penalty is expensive and it takes a lot of time, should we really be taking all the time and money into something we barely use and why not use it in a topic that is more important? It is becoming less common but still why use it if there are more important topics to focus on. The death penalty continues to be a long lasting controversy and will be an issue that is debated in the United States for many years to come. The death penalty has been used since ancient times for many offenses. It has seem that the view on the death penalty has changed over the years, but it still is changing, but there are still some people out there who truly believe that the death penalty is a good punishment. There is that saying “an eye for an eye,” but why? I don’t see how death can be a way to teach others not to do something. Yes, death is a serious thing, but doing so is teaching people if someone hurt you, give them death. That sounds crazy, but people have creative minds.
A change in views and attitude about the death penalty can be changed by the media, word of mouth, and research. Not everyone is made perfect. Everyone has their imperfections and issues, by applying death isn’t going to change that. No one should be able to play the God figure and control who lives or not because people can change, they just need someone to show them the way and help them out. If only people can realize that today; the world would be a better place.
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