Why Death Penalty Should Be Completely Abolished

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Should taking the life of one who has taken the life of others to be considered an available punishment? Is a murderer’s life any less sacred than the victims is? Can capital punishment, the death penalty, execution, legal murder, or whatever a society wishes to call it, be morally justifiable? Currently, fifty-eight nations practice the death penalty. Our nation, the United States of America, is one of the fifty-eight nations that practice the death penalty. Capital punishment should be abolished in every state because it violates the 8th amendment, sometimes they have the wrong criminal and it’s an easy way out for the accuser, and the procedure itself takes up a lot of money when it could be used for something educational or useful purpose.

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The death penalty violates our constitutional rights and should be made illegal. It directly contradicts the Eighth Amendment which forbids cruel and unusual punishment. If the death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment then what is? Is there possibly anything crueler then dying a slow death while breathing in lethal fumes or anything more unusual then watching people who are paid to shoot at the target on your chest? The Bill of Rights was established to protect the rights of the people and now Americans are taking away these rights from their own countrymen. William J. Brennan, JD, Justice of the US Supreme Court, in the July 2, 1976 dissenting opinion in Gregg v. Georgia, stated: ‘Death is not only an unusually severe punishment, unusual in its pain, in its finality, and in its enormity, but it serves no penal purpose more effectively than a less severe punishment…

The fatal constitutional infirmity in the punishment of death is that it treats ‘members of the human race as nonhumans, as objects to be toyed with and discarded. [It is] thus inconsistent with the fundamental premise of the Clause that even the vilest criminal remains a human being possessed of common human dignity.’ As such it is a penalty that ‘subjects the individual to a fate forbidden by the principle of civilized treatment guaranteed by the [Clause].’ I, therefore, would hold, on that ground alone, that death is today a cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Clause… I would set aside the death sentences imposed… as violative of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.’

It puts innocent lives at risk. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the United States in 1976, 138 innocent men and women have been released from death row, including some who came within minutes of execution. Many of these cases were discovered not because of the normal appeals process, but rather as a result of new scientific techniques, investigations by journalists, and the dedicated work of expert attorneys. In Missouri, Texas and Virginia investigations have been opened to determine if those states executed innocent men. To execute an innocent person is morally reprehensible; this is a risk we cannot take. This is the most alarming reason why I oppose the death penalty. Imagine if someone was already dead and it turns out later that he/she is completely innocent, there will be no turning point. An innocent life has already taken and the victim’s family would suffer 10 more upon hearing their love one has executed and was completely innocent.

The death penalty must be abolished because it costs a lot of money. The cost of the death penalty as opposed to a life sentence without parole is exponential. Due to the extra measures taken in judicial proceedings, lawyer fees, extended trials, and expert witnesses, costs end up being higher. According to the Oregonian, in 1995 the trials for three Washington County murder cases cost more than $1.5 million. One was sentenced to death. In 2000 a fiscal impact summary from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services stated that the Oregon Judicial Department would save $2.3 million annually if the death penalty were eliminated. It is estimated that total prosecution and defense costs to the state and counties equal $9 million per year. It is a total waste of effort, time and money to kill someone. This money should have been donated or spend to someone who deserves it rather than to a criminal who can be punished by a life sentence without parole.

Supporters of the death penalty believe that the death penalty helps keep the crime and murder rate down, but that is not so. States with death penalty laws do not have lower crime or rates than states with death penalty laws. Also, by incarcerating criminals for life, instead of executing them, it makes them think about what they did and forces them to live with the consequences of their actions. Some may criticize that by abolishing the death penalty, crime rates will increase. Studies have already shown that the death penalty will not deter criminals.

Currently, there is no solid evidence that proves that the death penalty will deter criminals; however, there is evidence showing that states with no death penalty have a lower murder rate than states with the death penalty. In a recent examination, “researchers concluded that the estimates claiming that the death penalty saves numerous lives are simply not credible. In fact, researchers stated that using the same data and proper methodology could lead to the exact opposite conclusion: that is, that the death penalty actually increases the number of murders” [5]. Conclusive evidence such as the fact should dispel any criticism regarding the death penalty and murder rates. In addition, many studies seem to disprove the theory that the death penalty is a good deterrence against violent crimes and murders.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, states without the death penalty have had lower murder rates. In their seventeen-year-old study, states without the death penalty showed a 40% decrease in murder rates. In regards to the article “Death penalty is a deterrence”, New York has now abolished the death penalty and their murder rate has gone down significantly compared to when the state was still practicing capital punishment. In fact, in the first year that New York abolished the death penalty, they saw a four percent decrease in their murder rates.

We have the right reasons to live. May it be a criminal, a priest or just an ordinary person. Criminals especially murderers have been tortured and killed multiple times. They have committed a hideous crime, it doesn’t mean that we have to hurt them or kill them also. According to Mahatma, Gandhi, an eye for an eye turns the world blind. We are all familiar with this quotation, if someone hits me then I would hit them too. If we use this system all the time then there won’t be a need for us to implement laws for we are already following our own conscience, it doesn’t matter if we are right or wrong. In this world, nobody is perfect which means we all have our own flaws and mistakes. The best way to make up to the people whom we have hurt or may have hurt us , we need first to accept our faults and forgive our own selves. If we are still being a hard-headed person then we wouldn’t have our own inner peace again. We should also forgive others, do not hold any grudges and let God decides the punishment for them. The death penalty is not a solution to end crimes and for the other problems of our society. Death Penalty should be completely abolished in our society owing to the fact that it doesn’t decrease crime rates, costs a lot of money and puts innocent lives at risk.

07 September 2020

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