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`Who are you to decide who lives or die. Would you ever want to be put in that situation? I assume your answer is no. Every year there are thousands of people who are innocent and are put on death row, only a few of them ever get to prove their innocence. In 2016 there were at least 1,032 people who were executed in 23 countries, in 2015 Amnesty International recorded 1,634 executed in 25 countries worldwide. That is a historical spike that has been unmatched since 1989. Since capital punishment is already abolished in the UK, I will mainly be referring to the USA and other countries around the world. More than two-thirds of the countries worldwide are abolitionist in practice which is 141 countries. Which is a large number considering that there are 195 countries in the world?
Most of the executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan. This is in order of which countries have had the most executions. China remains the world’s top executioner, however, no one knows the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China as this data is considered a state secret. Would you ever want to be put in that situation? The global figure of at least 1,032 excludes the thousands of executions carried out in China. If China considers it a state secret only one could imagine how bad the numbers really are.
Is it really fair for a jury to decide whether you live or die? By the end of 2016 there were at least 18,848 people on death row, now the methods of execution include beheading, hanging, lethal injection, and shooting. Even public executions were carried out in Iran (at least 33) and in North Korea. In many countries such as the USA families of the victim are able to watch the perpetrator be executed which is no better than a public one. It shows a lack of respect for them and their family and doesn’t allow them to pass away in peace. In many of the countries where people were sentenced to death, the proceedings did not meet the international fair trial standards. In some cases, this included the extraction of ‘confessions’ through torture or other ill-treatment including in Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. These methods are absolutely inhumane, especially when whoever is getting tortured is actually an innocent person. Would you ever want to be put in that situation? A thought is the death penalty is a morally acceptable punishment for murder. It is morally wrong to not execute a murderer because the punishment must fit the crime. However, others much like myself would argue that taking someone’s life does not compare to simply putting someone in jail, having a fear of death does not reduce crime.
The death penalty has, in fact, failed as a deterrent meaning it is having exactly the opposite effect that it was supposed to have. Criminologists claim they have statistically proven that when an execution is published more murders occur in the days and weeks that follow. An example would be the Lindbergh kidnapping where a baby was kidnapped and killed. The perpetrator was sentenced to death, however, figures showed the kidnappings that occurred increased. The publicity from crimes like that may encourage crime instead of preventing it. In the USA in 1958 the 10 states which had the fewest murders (fewer than two a year per 100,000 people) were New Hampshire, Iowa, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Utah, North Dakoda and Washington. 4 of those states have abolished the death penalty. The 10 states with the most murders (14 murders per 100,000 people) all enforce the death penalty. Some of the states included are Florida, Ohio, Georgia, and Tennessee.
One of the many things that happen with capital punishment is the conviction of the innocent. Two states Maine and Rhode Island abolished the death penalty because of public shame and remorse after they had discovered they had executed innocent men. With the death penalty, innocent lives are at risk, the death penalty in the USA in 1976 138 innocent people was released from death row, including some who were released within minutes of execution.
Lastly, millions are paid for the death penalty system, capital punishment does not deter crime. A poor-quality defense leaves many sentenced to death and no civilians job description should have to include killing another person. The issues on the death penalty are one of the most debatable in the criminal justice system, but for the last time ask yourself would you want to be put in that situation?
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