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While there are many reasons why it should be banned, some major concerns are; it is very expensive, it is racist and unjust, inmates lose their will to live and can see death it as a way out of their punishment, and finally, there has been people who have been executed to later discover they were innocent. In the United States, the death penalty has always been a very controversial topic. While many states have deemed it unconstitutional, it is still being used today. However, capital punishment is an outdated practice that should be banned.
The first reason against death penalty discussed in this research paper is that life in prison is a better option because it is less expensive. Capital punishment is very costly, many people don’t know how much time and money goes into inmates on death row. There is more money spent on death row inmates in some states than what they spend on A study done in 2011 shows that California has spent $1 billion toward cost of incarceration of death row inmates since 1978, that’s an average of $30.3 million dollars a year just for death row incarceration. Not to mention the cost for security guards is $90,000 a year per inmate; California has 747 inmates on death row that’s approximately $67.2 million dollars a year just for security. Whereas life in prison without parole is around $50,000 a year per inmate, that is not nearly as much as capital punishment. The least expensive death penalty costs $1.1 million more than the most expensive life without parole case. That is a lot more money that could towards something else, that has a bigger effect on society. There is also a large amount of money that goes into appeals. Not only are appeals expensive but they also take a lot of time to process. The death penalty is around 20 times more expensive than life in prison.
Second, the death penalty is a racist and unjust practice. Capital punishment is the most severe sentence anyone can get, so it should be evaluated fairly by the jury, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The race of the defendant is not what the jury pays attention to they pay more attention to the race of the victim. It should not matter what race the victim is they were assaulted, murdered or hurt unfairly and they should get justice for what was done. There have been many cases where the same crime was committed but there were different sentences for the defendants. In one case the first victim was a white male and the second was an African American male both murdered in a robbery yet the defendant who murdered the white male got a harsher sentence than the man who committed the same crime but to an African American male. Both defendants were white males in their early 30’s. If it is unjust and racist, why should it be constitutional? Statistics show that in Florida as of January 1, 2018, 75.5 percent of victims whose perpetrator was executed were white. They also show that only 15.4 percent of 2,196 victims whose attacker was executed were African American, that’s only 338 compared to the 1,659 white victims. It is unjust to have a sentence so severe with biases around it, there should never be inconsistencies in something that takes another person’s life.
Next, many people who are sentenced to death spend years in prison appealing their conviction and their sentence, they fight to get life in prison but once given life in prison without parole, inmates regret fighting for it. This is because most of them realize the death penalty was a way out of dealing with the guilt. Some defendants even try to get their appeals waved; this means that they will be processed faster. It makes it so they will get executed faster than if they were to fight their appeals. They think it is better to be executed instead of having to be locked away in prison for the rest of their lives. Even if someone appeals and gets life in prison with the possibility of parole it is very rare that they get out. Just because someone tries for parole does not guarantee that they get out, with laws that have passed recently they have even less of a chance to get out on parole. Even if they are let out on parole, which is highly unlikely, they are fully evaluated before they are let out. There are many cases where people have fully turned their life around after getting out on parole; there are rehabilitation programs in prison that inmates are allowed to take. The death penalty doesn’t help deteriorate crime; it makes inmates think they will have a way out instead of carrying out their entire life sentence.
Finally, there has been cases where someone was sentenced to death, been executed and later been emancipated. But they can’t come back from being dead. There was no reason for that person to die, they could’ve spent more time with their family or stated a family of their own. Instead they got stripped of everything they had, they lost their freedom, family, friends, and their life. This could be avoided by not having the death penalty. Many families are destroyed in the process of execution, it is supposed to bring closure to the families of the victims, but it doesn’t really give them the closure they want. In some cases, even innocent men have been executed. There could be innocent lives that were saved instead of getting destroyed. Once they are executed, they can’t come back, it doesn’t work like that. Nothing the government or state does will ever make it right with the families, they were destroyed and hurt without a cause. Not only does it hurt the defendant’s family but it also makes the victim’s family feel worse because not only did another innocent person die but in most cases they don’t find the person who actually committed the crime.
Though most people might believe that inmates who get life in prison without parole have a better life because they are alive, it is untrue. Inmates on death row get better treatment than inmates in a general population prison. That is because they are considered more dangerous and are put in a different prison where they have more security. It’s a prison where there are less inmates, better food, bigger cells, and they don’t have to share a cells. It is more comfortable for them on death row than it would be in general population prison. Not only did they commit such heinous crimes, but they get treated better than most inmates as a form of punishment? How are they supposed to understand that what they did was wrong and deal with the fact that people are hurting because of what they did if they are getting treated as if they did nothing wrong. The death penalty gives them an escape from dealing with what they did, that doesn’t make things right.
Since society will never be free of crime, dealing and controlling crime has become the focus of law enforcement. There are different methods that can be used to help control crime rates that officers use that are more effective than capital punishment. Many states have banned the death penalty for many reasons, including that it is costly, racist and unjust, inmates lose their will to live and see it as a way out, and lastly, there has been people executed that were later found to be innocent. The death penalty doesn’t stop people from committing crimes, so why keep such an outdated and unconstitutional practice in our world.
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