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The death penalty is a tricky subject to navigate because there are so many differing opinions. Most seemingly valid and justifiable on a small scale. However, if we are to look at these cases in a larger perspective we begin to notice the injustices that come with them. Capital punishment should be eradicated because it is an ineffective and unreliable way of punishing felons for the crimes they have committed. Cases where the death penalty is given are often fraught with false convictions, corruption and fraud. Furthermore, the act itself is costly, futile and immoral.
Money and expenses are an important aspect of most things in our American society, and “reviewing 15 state studies of death penalty costs conducted between 2000 and 2016 [we find] that, across the country, seeking the death penalty imposes an average of approximately $700,000 more in case-level costs than not seeking death.”1* This has been proven on many accounts by reputable institutions and should appeal to those who do not find the act immoral. Spending money that could be used for more necessary purposes other than killing is not only unintelligent but wasteful especially when worse punishments could be given. For example, many argue that life in prison is far worse than the death sentence. Though this argument is subjective to the individual we can find that many inmates would prefer death to life in prison without the possibility of parole. “Placing an inmate in the box for the rest of his life will no doubt prevent him from doing any further harm. But man is a social animal. The human mind craves interaction with other people, and being deprived of human companionship is as damaging to the psyche as deprivation of food and water is to the body.”2* Isolating criminals for the horrendous crimes they have committed not only saves money but is also a far worse punishment then release.
Capital punishment is immoral and does not better our society in any way. Teaching people that killing is wrong by killing others is hypocritical, unjust and does not provide long term crime reduction. Especially when the punishments are not being evenly distributed. “The rate at which eligible black and hispanic defendants were sentenced to death was nearly 40% higher than the rate for other eligible defendants.”3* This is completely unjust especially due to the fact that they commit the same amount of crimes as other non-black and/or hispanic individuals. Instead of subjugating groups of people based on race and ethnicity to demeaning stereotypes causing their way of life to be ruled by fear and objectification we should be giving them opportunity to escape this cycle. Instead of focusing on forms of punishment we should be looking at forms of reform and activities that can uplift communities and are proven to decrease the rate of criminal activity. “Productive, engaged kids, are better equipped to succeed in school, the work force and life… programs reduce the strain on our police force, ease the minds of working parents and provide healthy alternatives for youths’ attention and energy. Investments in academic and community-based programming help prepare youth for their future and reduce the burden on the juvenile justice system.”4* Because of these injustices and unequal opportunity capital punishment is not a justified form of criminal sentencing because it is not the same for everyone and until we can fix that, it should be banned.
Some may argue that the only way to compensate for the loss of a life is to take the life of the killer. And when you hear about some of the absolutely horrid circumstance in which these innocent people were murdered you may feel a need for revenge. But to spare the life of someone who has committed the worst of crimes in a beautiful thing. It shows that we are better and more deserving of the life we have. It in no way justifies the actions of the murderer but it gives us the room in our hearts to continue to strive for a society in which crimes like this don’t take place. We are only setting a bad example for the youth and future if we continue to solve killing with killing.
As well as being immoral and expensive, the most compelling argument against capital punishment is the amount of false accusations and convictions. “A team of researchers has concluded that about 4.1 percent of criminal defendants who are sentenced to death are falsely convicted.”5* The thought that by trying to protect innocent people we are murdering the innocent is sickening and proves that the system in which we are condemning these people through is unreliable and inaccurate. Thus it should not be allowed to continue, at least until proper means are taken to ensure 100% accuracy. The amount of political corruption and unqualified lawyers also adds to the reason for not continuing to utilize capital punishment as a permitted form of penalty. If the defendant does not have the resources enough to hire a quality lawyer the state provides them with one. These state lawyers are often underpaid and overworked meaning they are not the able to fully involve themselves in each case they take. Which is unfair to the person being charged of crime, especially one as dire as the death sentence.
As a result of the immorality, expense, inequality, and inaccuracy of death sentencing; capital punishment should be eradicated, or at the minimum, halted until it can be fine tuned to result in 100% accuracy with every sentencing. Otherwise, as citizens protected under the law, we should be free from this improper form of punishment.
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