McElwee (2013) avers that the United States must overthrow the legal bases for the imposition of the death penalty. The system, according to McElwee, is not only crude; it is expensive, impotent, and biased. The primary objective of the criminal justice system is to prevent criminal activities, restore convicted criminals, and restrain indurated criminals. Psychologically speaking, being sent to prison for life attains these goals better than the imposition of the death penalty. A life sentence is an actual and effective deterrent; incarceration allows for the restoration of the offender; when the criminal is sentenced to death, the opportunity for rehabilitation is perpetually lost. For those that believe that the offender can escape from prison, “supermax” prison facilities have all but removed that possibility (McElwee).
Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International argues against the death penalty on the imposition of a punishment that is worse than dying; for example, there are jurisdictions that execute minors and even those who suffer from mental instabilities. Aside from these instances, it was also noted that inmates on “death row” are incarcerated for years on end, without knowing whether these will be executed today or tomorrow. In the arguments proffered by the group, these counter the arguments posed by those that support the practice. One, the death penalty removes from a person an inherent right-life. Two, executions, when finally conducted, are irreversible punitive mechanisms that risk the execution of an individual who may be later found innocent of the charges against them. Lastly, and probably the most significant of the arguments being challenged by anti-death penalty supporters, is that there is not proof that having the death penalty actually deters criminal activities. Though international legal regimes constantly argue for the use of capital punishment for extremism and killing, the group believes that retributive policies such as capital punishment will address these concerns (Amnesty International).
Amnesty International “Death penalty” <https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/death-penalty/ (accessed 3 February 2016)
McElwee, Sean “It’s time to abolish the death penalty” <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-mcelwee/abolish-death-penalty_b_3557782.html (accessed 3 February 2016)