The death penalty, or capital punishment as it is commonly known, is one of the issues that have raised controversy not only in the United States, but all over the globe. Undoubted, this subject remains a thorny issue in the world entirely. The United States remains one of the few countries in the world, where the capital punishment is still executed. Whereas some individuals are of the view that this kind of punishment is barbaric in nature and contravenes moral values, others argue that it is a crucial instrument and deterrent in dealing with intended and often violent murder (Berry, 2011). From the legal perspective, death penalty is described as the killing of an individual through a judicial process for vengeance or incapacitation. Ideally, capital punishment is applicable on capital offenses. It is imperative to note that what is considered capital offenses differs from one country to another.
There are a number of facts that have been identified challenging death penalty and therefore the reasons as to why it should be abolished. To begin with, execution is an expensive exercise (Scherer, 2006).. According to various studies that have been carried out with regard to the issue of death penalties, research has it that the cost involved in carrying out execution exceeds the cost that could be incurred to keep the person alive in prison. Facts have it that the cost incurred during death penalty trials compared to those of life imprisonment is 20 times more expensive (Scherer, 2006).. With this in mind, every right minded person will be of a similar opinion that death sentences should be abolished in the community since they are very expensive at the cost of the citizens.
Families who unfortunately lost their loved ones to murder have confessed that death penalty does not heal their wounds nor do they ease the pain in their hearts. In fact, they confess that the process that has to be undergone before the death penalty is given only prolongs the pains and agony to their families (Scherer, 2006). These families have even suggested that the amount of money the government uses on execution should be used on them to ensure they get proper counselling and restitution which would help them get back to their normal lives.
Besides, the perception that the death penalty deters crime is controversial. With regard to the various scientific studies that have been carried out for many years, there have never had any researched that demonstrated that people are deterred to commit crime by executions compared to long life imprisonment. It is worth noting that the rate of murder in countries that do not exercise death penalty have been established to be much lower compared to states that carry out executions (Berry, 2011). There are better ways through which the felon can be dealt with. For instance a sensible alternative is life without Parole. This is because the jurors have an alternative where they are empowered to send the capital murders to prison for life and the possibility of them obtaining a parole is eliminated. It has been established that this kind of a sentence is very much cheap to the tax payer compared to execution and have been proved to keep other intending to be violent offenders away compared to execution. It is worth noting unlike death penalties, life sentences gives room for correction of any mistakes that could have been done along the way (Scherer, 2006). For instance, there are people who are able to prove their innocence after a number of years when more evidence is obtained. These are some of the reasons as to why everyone should consider this society change where death penalties are abolished.
Moreover, there are high chances that innocent people will be executed. When an innocent person is convicted and executed bearing in mind that the justice system could not establish his or her innocence, this is one wrong thing that at no one time it will be rectified (Scherer, 2006). In the recent years, there are studies that show men and women have been executed wrongfully within the past two year four people being victims. Such errors are appalling and are unacceptable completely especially where an issue of life and death is being addressed. In addition to that, it have been established that in capital cases there are factor that determine who is to be jailed or not. Among the factors is the race of both the complainant and that of the defendant. A report from a study that was carried out in the recent past in the United States of America has it that the race from which the victim of capital cases comes from greatly influenced the kind of judgement that was reached. That is if someone committed murder to a white the chance of being sentenced to death was 82% high compared to the persons who murdered black. With regard to this, it is apparent that the time for this change in the society has actually come since it makes no sense and has no respect to the basic human rights (Cromie, 2013).
Another thing that is worth consideration is the fact that when death penalty is being reached, it is done randomly. Rather than considering the facts that have been presented about the crime, the jurisdiction with regard to where the crime took place as well as the legal counsel quality and not forgetting some politics of the day are the things that determine the final verdict of the bench. This are among the things that make issues with regard to death sentence become a lethal lottery. The facts are clear showing that for around 22,000 cases of homicide reported to have been committed by the end of every year, death penalty is given to 100 or less people (Cromie, 2013).
The trends of how the death penalty is implemented show how unfairness is common on the way it is implemented. According to the statistics collected on the date penalty cases, it has been shown that more blacks and Hispanics have been either put on a death sentence or executed, as compared to the whites. For instance, in Indiana, out of the 21 inmates who have been sentenced to death, 17 of them are both Hispanics and Blacks (Isikoff, 2000). It is argued that this is one of the highest percentages of death rows at the state level. Furthermore, during the Clinton era, out of the 175 death penalty cases that were approved, more than three quarters were against minority defendants (Isikoff, 2000). Besides, President Clinton also signed an antiterrorism bill that comprised of a measure that restricted the ability of inmates on state death-row to produce new evidence. This was seen as part of the injustice on death-row inmates, given that there is need for the society to know if the ruling is likely to cost an innocent person his/her life
However, various arguments have been put forth in favour of the death penalty. For instance, it is argued that for the society to function effectively, people have to be controlled such that they cannot commit anarchy at will. In addition, there are high chances that murder convicts are likely to commit the same crime in future. As such, such a person who commits murder by extension has shown that he or she does not respect his or her own right to life. Therefore death penalty should not be viewed from a perspective of revenging for the dead it should be viewed from a closure perspective where such a situation is not welcomed again. In addition to that, it should not be viewed from the fairness perspective rather it should be approached from a perspective that we are preventing any future occurrence of a similar event. Felons being supported by tax payer’s money
It is important to note that people who escape death sentence are, as a matter of fact, sent for life imprisonment to jail. With this in mind, while in the jail, the felon requires to be supplied with the basic necessities for instance food, clothing among many others for which the government is under an obligation to provide. It is worth considering that the government does not give these necessities to the inmate for free. The government have to get the money from the taxpayers so that they can be in a position to provide the basic necessities (Cromie, 2013).
Viewing it from another angle it would be right to say that we are taxed by the government so highly so that the felons who killed our loved ones can be well maintained. It simply sounds as an abuse to the ears of families of such death victims since this is absolutely wrong and this should not happen. If the justice system was fair enough to sentence some of the felon death penalty, the government would save a lot of resources that could be used for the good of the law abiding citizen’s for instance building libraries or other social amenities.
Another school of thought is of the opinion that death penalty simply an institutionalised revenge. This is because the justice system turns death penalty to what it is initially meant to be that is a controlled force mechanism with the aim of violence elimination. Unfortunately what the justice system does is that it becomes by itself the system of violence by excising death penalty (Scherer, 2006). Apparently, rather than enabling the society to move from the culture of eye to eye kind of justice, we find that through death penalty it is actually encouraged.
In conclusion, it is evident that a time for societal change has come where death penalties are no more. In the paper, an evaluation has been done where both argument for and against has been evaluated and a position that is firmly guided by reasons and fact have been obtained. With all said and done a time for abolishing death penalty has come since they have no advantage that can be attached to it.
Cromie, J., & Zott, L. M. (2013). The death penalty. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Scherer, L. S. (2006). The death penalty. Detroit: Thomson/Gale.
Isikoff, M. (2000). Race, Death, and the Feds. Capital Punishment, Resource Counsel Project.
Berry, W.W. (2011) Repudiating Death. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 101, No.2, 441-492.