The Lethal Injection Debate: for and Against

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About this sample


Words: 2452 |

Pages: 5|

13 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2019

Words: 2452|Pages: 5|13 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2019

Table of contents

  1. Death Penalty Argumentative Essay Outline
  2. Introduction
    The Process of Capital Punishment
    Lethal Injection as the Primary Method
    Support for Lethal Injection
    Critics of Lethal Injection
    Changing Drug Protocols
    Alternative Perspectives
  3. Death Penalty Argumentative Essay Example

Death Penalty Argumentative Essay Outline


  • Definition of lethal injection
  • Overview of its use in the death penalty
  • Controversy surrounding lethal injection

The Process of Capital Punishment

  • How capital punishment is initiated
  • Waiting period on death row
  • The execution process, including appeals

Lethal Injection as the Primary Method

  • Introduction of lethal injection as an execution method
  • Widespread adoption in U.S. states
  • Comparison with other execution methods

Support for Lethal Injection

  • Arguments in favor of lethal injection
  • Belief that it is an improvement over older methods
  • Concern for the families of victims

Critics of Lethal Injection

  • Arguments against lethal injection
  • Eighth Amendment and concerns of cruel and unusual punishment
  • Questions about the administration and effectiveness of the drugs

Changing Drug Protocols

  • Evolving drug combinations used in lethal injection
  • Challenges and debates surrounding drug availability
  • Instances of botched executions

Alternative Perspectives

  • Cases where criminals themselves prefer execution
  • Consideration of life in prison as a form of punishment
  • The moral and ethical implications of capital punishment


  • Summarizing the debate over lethal injection
  • Call for further examination of the process and its impact on criminals

Death Penalty Argumentative Essay Example

Cambridge dictionary said: “An injection of a drug that kills someone, especially as a punishment for committing a crime”. Lethal injection is a procedure used to kill people that have been sentenced to death penalty. Thirty-seven states use lethal injection to kill their criminals that are sentenced to death. Lethal injection is used in prison as a method to cause immediate death to criminals and it is controversial because it causes pain to the people administer.

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Lethal injection happens after a person has been convicted of a crime and is sentenced to death penalty or capital punishment. Capital punishment process starts when a person is declared guilty of a crime and is sentenced to death. However, the execution process may take years while in the meanwhile the criminal can appeal for his conviction. “In the meantime, the prisoner lives in a section of a state or federal prison called death row. The specific events that follow can vary from state to state, but the overall process is generally the same. Once a prisoner's appeals are exhausted, an execution order is given and a date is set for the execution. The condemned inmate may be moved from the general condemned housing area into a special area of the prison, called death watch. This area may be housed in the same building as the execution chamber. Some states move the inmate to another prison -- a central prison where executions are carried out”. This is the process that all people sentenced to death faced. This also explains that executions do not happen right away because for some people it makes take more time than other.

Lethal injection was introduced to prison 30 years ago. Since the introduction of lethal injection, it has been the main method of execution. There are thirty-eight states that have capital punishment or death penalty in their prison system and thirty- seven states use lethal injection as their method to death. The one state that does not use lethal injection which is Nebraska use the electric chair. Many argue that lethal injection is less painful compared to other methods used to cause death. This shows how lethal injection is not painful for the criminals “Lethal injection uses a combination, or "cocktail," of three chemicals, which are intended to put to sleep, paralyze, and then kill the inmate being executed”. Many will argue that this is the total outcome of lethal injection because it can cause the person to remain awake during the execution which causes them pain while dying.

Many people are in favor of lethal injection because they want the criminals to pay for their crimes. The people who support are saying “Lethal injection is a major improvement over older forms of execution, and it is unreasonable to think that pain can be eliminated entirely during executions. Contesting lethal injection gives inmates a way to postpone their executions indefinitely”. They know that pain is part of the death process. “Supporters add that absolute painlessness is an unrealistic goal. "The idea that a murderer is entitled to a painless death, which relatively few of us are going to have, I don't think is sustainable”. They explain that criminal that are sentenced to death and are killed with lethal injection experience some kind of pain no matter what because death is painful. “Supporters also dispute the idea that lethal injection is too complicated a procedure for corrections officials to handle”. They explain that is not difficult for an officer to know if the person is sleeping. “Supporters say that arguing over the legitimacy of lethal injection, thereby causing the indefinite postponement of executions, is also unfair to the families of the condemned inmates' victims”. Finally, they explain that people are advocating for lethal injection to be postponed is letting the criminal to live longer and the family of the victim to keep suffering knowing that their family murder is still alive and their member is dying. There will always be people in support of lethal injection.

On the other hand, there are people that do not believe in lethal injection as a method of punishment and death. They argue that “The current use of non-medically trained prison personnel to administer lethal injection results in unnecessary pain for the executed. The current use of lethal injections constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution”. The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments. “Critics of lethal injection argue that it lacks the safeguards needed to ensure that inmates are not subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Prison officials may not be qualified to administer the mixture of chemicals, they contend, not being trained, for example, to find prisoners' veins in order to properly insert IV lines”. Other argue that criminal may be experiencing cruel punishment and that the officers do not have the proper training to know where the vain is located in other to inject the drug into the system of the criminal. “Critics add that, during medical procedures in which anesthesia is used, doctors measure out precise dosages. Many prison officials, on the other hand, do not keep track of how much they use, they charge, causing prisoners to be poorly anesthetized”. This explains that officers are not well trained to administer the injection because they do not know how much anesthesia is in the person body and if that person is sleeping in other for them to not suffer at the time of their death. “A large dose of anesthetic alone would be enough to kill and would be less likely to cause pain, critics argue. But opponents note that administering it would take much longer than using the three-drug combination”. Finally, they believe that anesthesia is a better method of death because a large amount will cause death without pain and they also know that it will take more time to be death. Lethal injection is a very controversial topic because of the Eighth Amendment where people are using to state that the prisoners are receiving unnecessary punishment while administering the injection.

Lethal injection has been popular since its beginning because it has been the predominant methods to execute criminals. “The form by which prisoners are executed is changing. In America and a growing number of other countries, lethal injection has become the most commonly used form of capital punishment, replacing other forms such as hanging and the electric chair. Between 1977 and 1982, the years immediately following the reinstatement of the death penalty, there were a total of two executions. In 2004, there were 59 executions. An overwhelming number of these executions were carried out by lethal injection. On December 2, 2005, Kenneth Lee Boyd became the 1,000th person to be executed since 1977. In 2009, 25 people were executed in 11 states”. Lethal injection has increased through the years and it becoming the method used for death penalty. Those are a scary number because is showing how lethal injection is the number one solution to when it comes to executions.

The three-drug use for lethal injection has been questioned because it is showing that the injection is taking more time than what is supposed to be during executions. This is also explaining that the FDA is not approving the three-drug or cocktail drug because is showing that this drug is not what it used to be before. “About two-thirds of the states use a combination of barbituric, paralytic and toxic agents for executions, despite a lack of scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness. Although the procedure may be subject to FDA approval, the agency has avoided any ruling on the cocktail's efficacy in delivering a merciful death. A shortage of sodium thiopental, a fast-acting barbiturate and general anesthetic used in lethal injections of death-row convicts, has delayed several such executions throughout the U.S. and reignited a long-standing debate over the combination of chemicals used to carry out capital punishment”. The government is thinking about changing the chemicals put in the lethal injection because they believe that the process is unusual and cruel for the criminals. “As a lawsuit challenging Tennessee's new lethal injection procedure goes to trial”. This also explains that lethal injection it questions because is creating pain for criminals.

In the United States is one of the predominant countries that still uses capital punishment for executions. “The United States and Japan are the two remaining industrial democracies whose justice systems execute prisoners. As of today, 3,095 prisons are on death row across 35 states” (Kroll, 2014). “Perhaps in order to seem more civilized, and to address the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, Oklahoma's then-state medical examiner, Dr. Jay Chapman, proposed in 1977 after Gilmore's execution that prisoners might better be dispatched using a lethal intravenous cocktail of therapeutically useful drugs. When used at much higher doses than normal, they would cause death in less than ten minutes. The purpose of these drugs is two-fold. First, they are used to induce death in a manner as painless as possible for the condemned. Second, the drug combination is also intended for the audience to view the process as peaceful and medical, without any twitching of the body, vocalizations, or any reflex actions that can still occur while one is unconscious. The three types of drugs and their purposes, as originally proposed and used in order, are as follows: a sedating drug to render the condemned unconscious (barbiturates such as sodium thiopental or pentobarbital). A neuromuscular blocking drug causes paralysis of all muscles except the heart (such as pancuronium or vecuronium bromide). A lethal dose of potassium chloride arrests the heart”. After 1977 they create the cocktail drug in other to administer the drug via drug the vain and to make the death fast. They used barbiturates, vecuronium bromide, and potassium chloride to create the drug use in the injection to cause death to the criminal and the whole purpose of its creation was to help criminals to die without pain.

The last moments of the criminal or murderer it is difficult because is the last time it will see it family members and the world. “In the final 24 hours before the execution, a prisoner can be visited by several people, including family, friends, attorneys, and spiritual advisors. These visits take place in the death watch area or a special visitation room and are halted sometime during that last day”. “Last meal is provided - Prisons try to provide whatever meal is requested by the condemned prisoner. Warden and chaplain visit - The warden and the state-appointed chaplain visit with the inmate and stay until the end of the execution. Witnesses arrive - There is no contact allowed between witnesses and the condemned prisoner. Witnesses are typically restricted to the witness room adjacent to the execution chamber and are instructed to remain silent. Inmate makes final preparations - In some states, male inmates are given a fresh pair of pants and a shirt, female inmates a dress, and the prisoner is allowed to shower before getting dressed. In other states, the inmate must remove all outer clothing. A heart monitor is connected - The inmate is connected to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine, which will be monitored for a flat line to determine when the heart stops and death has occurred”. It may vary from the state from the state in the way they are going to die. It is unbelievable but, I did not know that women were sentenced to death. This is new to me because I never knew that they put a heart monitor on the criminal to determine when it dies.

This is a different perspective because it has never been the prisoner asking for lethal injection to be death. Now, people do not want to be in prison instead they want to die. “The convicted Nevada inmate slated to die by a three-drug lethal injection combination never before used in the U.S. has said repeatedly he wants his sentence carried out and he doesn’t care if it’s painful” (Ritter, 2018). “I’ve been very clear about my desire to be executed … even if suffering is inevitable. “Life in prison isn’t a life,” the 47-year-old inmate told the newspaper. “It’s just surviving.” The psychologist diagnosed Dozier with anti-social personality disorder with narcissistic traits. Dozier suspended any appeals of his conviction and sentence. Because Nevada is using a combination of drugs that no one has used before, there is a lot about its protocol that we don’t know anything about. Nevada’s last execution occurred more than a decade ago when Daryl Linnie Mack asked to be put to death for his conviction in a 1988 rape and murder in Reno”. He decided to remove any appeal about his execution because he really wants to be death. He does not care about the pain he will suffer from the injection because he desires is to be death because for him prison is not life. He got his execution and it was conducted on Wednesday.

“On December 13, 2006, the state of Florida botched the lethal injection of Angel Diaz. The execution team pushed IV catheters straight through the veins in both his arms and into the underlying tissue. As a result, Diaz, who was convicted of murder in 1986, required two full doses of the lethal drugs, and an execution scheduled to take only ten to 15 minutes lasted 34. It was one of the worst botches since states began using lethal injection in the 1980s”. During Angel Diaz execution everything when bad because the injection put in into his vein damages his arm. The process took longer than what it was supposed to take. This makes the criminal to suffer his death with is not supposed to have any pain because the chemicals put in the injection is created to kill the prisoner without pain. This is a vivid example that lethal injection is not the best solution for death penalty because it causes criminal to suffer which the injection is intended to do the opposite.

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In conclusion, the lethal injection should be thought about because research has shown that it causes pain to some criminal. People have divided opinion when it comes to lethal injection because there are people who agree with it and there are others who do not agree with the idea of lethal injection. There is also a different point of view for lethal injection because research has shown that crime has also as to be executed because they cannot deal with life in prison. Finally, lethal injection also can damage the criminals during the execution time which is a torture for them because they are suffering.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

The Lethal Injection Debate: for and Against. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“The Lethal Injection Debate: for and Against.” GradesFixer, 10 Apr. 2019,
The Lethal Injection Debate: for and Against. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
The Lethal Injection Debate: for and Against [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Apr 10 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:
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