The first established death penalty laws date as far back as the Eighteenth Century B.C. in the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon, which codified the death penalty for 25 different crimes. The vast majority of individuals facing execution were convicted of crimes that are indistinguishable from crimes committed by others who are serving prison sentences, crimes such as murder committed in the course of an armed robbery. Since then, the debate if capital punishment should be allowed in our progressive society has raised. Only a handful of countries, including the United States, are currently implementing the death penalty, but many wonder if this is an effective way to approach this capital offense. Several people tune in into the debate, which discusses the positives and negatives of controversial topics that are relevant to our society. At first, capital punishment is misled to the beliefs of bringing justice to the affected families, less expensive than a life sentence, and fair. However, the death penalty is not morally right which leads to the need to nullify it because there are better ways to bring justice, it is expensive, and criminals have poor quality defense.
Supporters of the death penalty have valid points to maintain capital punishment. One of the valid points is that the affected families are getting justice for their loved ones like the saying “An eye for an eye”. Since the death penalty is quicker than sentencing the criminals to imprisonment for life it leads to the belief that there are fewer resources involved in the process making it cheaper because there’s no need to provide them with food, clothes, and medical assistance. The third most important point is that the accused is being trialed fairly because through the protection of the Constitution. However, an execution is a consequential decision and many factors need to be analyzed before our nation takes another life.
There are better ways to bring justice than capital punishment an example is life in prision. Life in prison is a better choice than death penalty, the “Fifth Amendment Argument” is not a valid reason, in which it states that death penalty is protected by the constitution, for keeping the peanalty. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that “the death penalty coasts more, delivers less, and puts innocent lives at risk”(n.p.). The ACLU defends the point that a sentence of life without parole would be a better option by being morally correct.
Additionally, the “Fifth Amendment Agurment” does not provide a reason to keep the death penalty and it is now considered “a legally prohibited cruel and unusual punishment” (Blocher 293). When ending someone’s life by capital punishment, is the same as committing a similar crime that got the criminal sentenced in the first place. The government is basically saying if a person kills someone, they will then be killed. This logic seems backwards if one of our nation’s goals is to reduce these crimes. Bryan Stevenson, JD, who is a Professor at New York University of Law, explains that no one, especially the government has the right to take someone’s life(ProCon). In order for both groups to understand each other, they need to fix the root of this issue: the crime itself.
Capital punishment is leaving the government broke due to its expenses for lethal shots. The “death-penalty system is so slow, inconsistent and inefficient that it costs far more than life-without-parole alternative”(Von Drehle 32). When a person is being trialed for death penalty it can take as long as twenty years plus the cost of the lethal shot in Texas 2012 the cost within one year went from $83 to $1300 leaving Texas with a $4.1 billion budget gap (Safdar). If Texas is willing to have a budget gap to buy the lethal shot a better investment is to improve the public school systems such as the teachers salaries, or even better pay for the affected families to go see a therapist that will help them to carry on with a peaceful life.
Lastly, it’s not a fair trial for everyone, especially to minorities, due to the lack of representation provided by the lawyers. Since the beginning of the US, it has been controlled by the people with wealth and—in most cases—white this are great assets when it comes to trials. Unfurtialy, not everyone has this quality that making us an easy target. Most of the trials against minorities African-american and Hispanics “adequate legal representation is rare” due to the amount of poverty this ethic groups suffer(Gill 23). By not having a good legal representation the criminal might get erroneous convicted an example is “3.3% to 5% of all convictions in capital rape-murder cases in the U.S. in the 1980s were erroneous convictions”(Honlam 153). “At least through the criminal justice lens, some lives are more valuable than others” when it shouldn’t be, but in reality we have never seen a white and wealthy men sent to die (Rizer 47). A trial “it is supposed to treat all equally, but the application of the death penalty—a final and irreversible punishment—has been proven to be unequally applied”(Harris).
The capital punishment is a way for criminals to escape their punishment, as well as being costly immoral, andunfaily process, this method is not an unacceptable sway to deal with pushinishing criminals. The people put on death row are the ones that have committed the most heinous crimes. It would be better to have them sit in prison for the rest of their lives, instead of ending it altogether. Since, no one knows where they go when they die, they could be taking the easy way out for their crime. By finding common ground between supporters and opponents of criminal punishment is going to take work but it is possible. Correctively, the groups could solve the problem of thriving crime rates. Instead of arguing about who is right when it comes to capital punishment, each group could use their strengths to combat crime. The supporters of capital punishment should consider the fact that justice is not served by killing criminals, and it is giving the government too much power to have the ability to end a life.
- Blocher, Joseph. “The Death Penalty and The Fifth Amendment.” Northwestern University Law Review Online, vol. 111, no. 1, 15 July 2016, pp.275-293. Academic Search Complete, web.ebscohost.comeztcc.edu:2048/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=8d907cc0-7a6c-46b79df0a39efc% 40sessionmgr4010&hid=4204&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbG12ZQ%3d%3d#AN-120553778& db=a9h.
- Gill, Lauren. “Fighting for Life on Death Row.” Nation, vol. 308, no. 11, Apr. 2019, pp. 22–26. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=135730713&site=eds-live&scope=site.
- ProCon. “Death Penalty ProCon.org.” Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed? ProCon.org, 2017.
- Rizer, Arthur, and Marc Hyden. “A Dying Shame: The State Is Not God, and the Death Penalty Is Not Infallible.” American Conservative, vol. 17, no. 6, Nov. 2018, p. 47. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f6h&AN=132395106&site=eds-live&scope=site.
- Safdar, Khadeeja. “Legally Killing People Has Gotten A Lot More Expensive.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 31 Mar. 2012, www.huffpost.com/entry/lethal-injection_n_1391408.
- “Senator Kamala Harris on California Death Penalty Moratorium.” U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California, 13 Mar. 2019,www.harris.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-kamala-harris-on-california-death-penalty-moratorium.
- “The Truth About Life Without Parole: Condemned to Die in Prison.” ACLU of Northern CA, 18 Oct. 2017, www.aclunc.org/article/truth-about-life-without-parole-condemned-die-prison.