There are several myths concerning the application of the death row inmates in cases of serious crimes. Such myths can make the population confused.
One of the myths about the death row is that many countries use this kind of punishment. However, in reality, the majority of countries, including almost all European countries, declined such way of punishment. The United States is the only western democratic state that uses the capital sentence as a form of punishment of offenders.
Another myth regarding the death warrant concerns what many people believe that the capital punishment can prevent new crimes and murders. Nevertheless, as shown by the statistics, the capital sentence does not reduce the number and frequency of new murders and serious crimes.
The next myth concerns the fact that the execution of the offender cost less than the keeping of the criminal in prison. However, it is also misleading. The fact is that before the Court pronounces a death sentence, judicial processes can last for a very long period and be very expensive. David Dow said that from an economic point of view, it is much cheaper to improve the quality of education and development of children from dysfunctional families, rather than to pay for keeping criminals, while judicial process is lasting, for numerous court procedures and others.
David Dow, in his speech, pointed out that about 80% of people sentenced to death have a similar biography. As a rule, those who commit murder - are individuals who grew up in poverty, without parents, or in dysfunctional families. That`s why Dow emphasizes that if the government want to make life in US safer, it have to improve systems of educations, care, and development of children from dysfunctional families. The lawyer says that the government instead of punishing adult murderers has to make efforts not to allow disadvantaged children grow into these adult murderers.
One of the myths about the capital punishment and death row - it is a myth that inmates on the death row always deserve to be on the death row. However, there were incidents in the history when a person had been wrongly sentenced to death for a crime one did not commit. The problem of the probability of such mistakes was considered in the film "The Life of David Gale." The main characters of the movie try to prove to society that the capital punishment is not always fair and not always among inmates on the death row are the people who deserve it.
Cunningham and Vigem summarized results of different studies concerning death row inmates` characteristics. The authors found that the majority of offenders sentenced to death were representatives of the male sex. Of course, there are cases, when individuals sentenced to capital punishment were female. As Streub indicated, most women, who were sentenced to death committed the murder of their husbands, lovers or killed another person under the direction of a lover or a husband (Cunningham&Vigen, 2002).
The majority of individuals who remain on the death row are individuals who have not completed high school and have not received the education. The level of intelligence of this people, as a rule, lower than the average, and in some cases, the level of intelligence is so low that it is similar to mental retardation.
Like D. Dow Cunningham and Vigen point out that the majority of individuals on death row has a family history with similar features: parent’s alcoholism and cruelty of parents towards their children, neglecting of children, and others (Cunningham&Vigen, 2002).
Numerous psychological, physiological, neuropsychological, mental and other disorders can be observed in the majority of offenders caught on death row. For ethnic and racial attribute - it is usually non-white individuals (Cunningham&Vigen, 2002).
Cunningham, M. D., & Vigen, M. P. (2002). Death row inmate characteristics, adjustment, and confinement: A critical review of the literature. Behavioral sciences & the law, 20(1‐2), 191-210.