The Death Penalty in the United States

People in society tend to commit different kinds of crimes. Some commit this crimes willingly while others accidentally. All this offenders usually get punished for these crimes depending on the type of offence they have committed and the laws governing the place where they committed the crime. Persons who commit major offences like murder sometimes get punished by the death penalty, which is also known as capital punishment. This is the lawful imposition of death as punishment for a crime. Not Many countries across the world have authorized this penalty. One of the few that has is the United States of America. The death penalty was authorized in America on the first of April the year 2008; by thirty seven states, the federal government and the United States military. On average, every 9-10 days a government in the United States executes a prisoner. Though the death penalty may be justified as deserving of the offender, it is not a decent practice and should be abolished all across the world.

There are a number of reasons that justify the capital punishment. First, it is seen as a method of getting rid of very bad criminals from the society. Serial killers and rapists who commit such indecent acts continuously cannot commit this crimes ones they are dead unlike when they serve long sentences and after some time they may escape or the sentences may come to an end. The convicts would most likely go back to committing these same crimes. The second reason is that the cost that the government incurs in imprisoning these convicts is so high yet this money can be used for more important causes in the society. Finally, it is at times the most appropriate measure for some crimes. There are crimes such as ritual and serial murders that are so severe; the only way for the convict to pay for it fully is capital punishment. (Burkhead 17-35 )These reasons favoring the death punishment are not sufficient to justify the death punishment in the United States.  There are also a number of disadvantages of the death penalty. 

In the United States there have been reported cases of innocent people being handed the death penalty. A  Good example of such is the case of Cameron Willingham, Who   got convicted for murdering his own three children by arson in a 1991 house fire and as a result, he got executed in 2004. A report prepared recently by an arson expert for the Texas forensic commission showed that the original investigation of Willingham’s case had mistakes and they could not support a finding of arson (.Grann). Had the death penalty not been in existence then Willingham at most would only have served a prison sentence. This case clearly shows the disadvantage of the capital punishment and a major reason as to why it needs to be abolished.

Another reason as to why capital punishment should be abolished is the psychological torture that both the prisoner and his family undergo. The prisoner’s family faces a lot of stress and grief in the period before the execution, especially during the appeal process and also during the execution itself. They usually find it hard to accept that their loved one is guilty of a serious crime and that they are going to be executed. Even though the victim’s family may be suffering so will the convicts. This stress may have bad effects on the convict’s family. On the other hand the methods used for ending a life are not humane. In the United States there are a number of methods but the two most common being the use of the electric chair or the lethal injection. Any type of execution in some way causes the prisoner to suffer. Even though some methods like the use of lethal injection are thought to cause less suffering .still the act of execution is still a terrifying moment for the prisoner. The prisoner is also more likely to experience mental suffering as he is waiting for his execution. All this factors show just how much suffering the death sentence would bring to those affected showing the much need to abolish it.

A major argument against capital punishment is that at most trials it is used disproportionately against the poor people, racial, ethnic and religious minorities. This is usually because the poor people cannot afford the expensive legal counsel to help appeal against their convictions and as a result they may loose their lives. On matters of racial and ethnic backgrounds, a report published by the national association of criminal lawyers blacks are disproportionally likely to be sentenced to death and executed than other racial groups. This issue of disproportionality shows clearly how unfair the death penalty can be to the minorities in the United States, hence the need to stop capital punishment to ensure equality. (rice 4)

 Capital punishment is in itself a denial of basic right; the right to life. Human life is valuable and should not be terminated at will. Even the American constitution supports the right to life and by going against it and executing prisoners the government is breaking the law.  Also the purpose of getting punished is to stop others from committing a similar crime. This is not the case with capital punishment because according to statistics it has not been effective in controlling the homicide rate. Other studies that have been conducted shows that capital punishment actually increases the murder rate. This capital punishment s also has adverse effects on the society; it creates the mentality that violence is essential for controlling wrong doings in the society.

Sometimes the cause of murder may not be premeditated. It may be accidental or caused by a mental condition. A good example of such is the case of Tony chambers who was mentally Impaired  who confessed to a charge of rape and murder of a eleven year old girl  and as a result he was given the death penalty and later on  executed. He was executed despite the fact that there was DNA evidence to show that he was not the one. (Baldwin 45-70 )Such cases occur all over yet in such cases the death penalty is not justified.   

The death penalty has its pros. some being that it is deserved, it solves problem and is cost savvy, but in modern society the cons far outweigh this pros. Many innocent individuals loose their lives due to wrong accusations and convictions, it causes psychological torture to both the convict and his family, most of the time the death sentences are handed out disproportionately based on ethnic racial and religious backgrounds. It goes against the right of individuals to life which is against the constitution, sometimes people with mental illnesses get convicted yet they could not control themselves in their acts and finally it creates a wrong mentality to the society at large. These reasons portray just how unfair and indecent the capital punishment is to the society at large and also why it should be abolished in the United States in order to create a just and civil society. 

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