What does capital punishment do for our society? Does it really do anything to better our society, or is it just a way for our government to deal with the irregularities that accompany any ill-perfect society? Presented here are facts about the death penalty that will let you decide whether or not capital punishment is needed.
There is a possibility of error when the death penalty is used upon a convicted criminal. Many times, a person who is accused of a crime, and put to death because of this crime has been later proved to be innocent due to additional evidence. But since the person accused of the crime has had his life taken from them, there is no chance to tell them that the government made a mistake and to let that person go and live out the rest of their life. The government must continue on knowing that they have killed an innocent person and the person they wished to kill, was still free. There is no fail-safe solution to prevent innocent people from being executed. Our judicial system is made up of human beings, and we human beings are prone to mistakes. Some of these mistakes are irreversible.
There is also a racial bias when the death penalty is carried out. “Since the resumption of executions in the early 1980’s, 40 percent of those executed have been black.” And more often than not blacks were more often executed than were whites without having their conviction reviewed by any higher court.
The cost of carrying out the death penalty cost more than two million of dollars, several times more than the eight hundred thousand dollars average cost of incarcerating an offender for life. Instead of wasting the extra money is costs to lawfully kill a person, the money should be spent developing programs to solve violence and offer more assistance to victim’s families.
Capital punishment also violates the 8th amendment, which protects citizens from cruel and unusual punishment. What is more cruel and unusual than death? The death penalty also violates the 14th amendment, which ensures Americans equality for all. In some example cases, “it took 24 minutes to kill an individual, after the tube attached to the needle in his arm leaked and sprayed noxious chemicals toward witnesses. Another, in 1989, caused Stephen McCoy to choke and heave for several minutes before dying because the dosage of lethal drugs was too weak.” Eyewitnesses of these executions state that the victims are in intense pain and the process is degrading.
Prison is supposed to be a place where those who commit crimes are to go to be rehabilitated and sent back out to become a productive member of society. If a person is put to death because of a crime, then there is no hope for reform. There is no chance to make this person that committed this crime, change his ways and let him live. Our government believes that if that person is no longer in our society, that they will never be able to commit a crime again. But they will also never be able to do any good for our society either.
Our government is supposed to be a teacher to its citizens. What they do to its citizens reflects how the citizens will act in the same situation. If they are shown that the punishment for a crime is murder, then they will feel that they should deal with crimes in their own hands with murder. Could it be that they are teaching us the wrong ideas when it comes to dealing with the punishment of criminals? Probably so.
“Race and the Death Penalty” n.d.
“Capital Punishment” 1997.
“American Civil Liberties Union Briefing Paper Number 8, Death Penalty” n.d. http://sun.soci.niu.edu/critcrim/dp/dppapers/aclu.brief
“American Justice in America” April 94.