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The Reasons Why I Am Against Death Penalty

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The death penalty continues to be an issue of controversy and is an issue that will be debated in the United States for many years to come. What is the death penalty? The death penalty is a punishment of an execution to someone that has caused serious crimes like drive-by-shooting murder during a kidnapping and killing a group of people (‘death penalty’). Should taking another human being’s life for a crime he or she has done be ok? Still, ask yourself this question: Wouldn’t taking another person’s life make you a murder, too? If you kill a criminal for the crimes, he or she has committed, are you not as faulty as they are? I believe so, and so do many other fellow Americans.

The high costs that come with capital punishment are a definite con when you consider the comparison of this type of case vs normal cases. Cases in which the death penalty is gone after are more expensive and take more time to solve than non-capital cases. “Even when a trial wasn’t necessary, those cases where the death penalty was sought still cost about twice as much as those where death was not sought”. The added money is due to legal representation, enhanced security for death row, and the costs it takes to go through the motions of a trial such as this. ‘The additional cost of confining an inmate to death row, as compared to the maximum security prisons where those sentenced to life without possibility of parole ordinarily serve their sentences, is $90,000 per year per inmate”. With California’s current death row (670) this would generate $63.3 million dollars per year. This is important because it shows factual stats about how much these cases cost vs regular cases and how much money could be saved if the death penalty was eliminated. These statistics show the thesis of my essay is correct because the high costs are one of the reasons against the death penalty.

Since the death penalty costs states and government so much, is there a way the money could be put to better use? “Florida, for example, spent between $25 million and $50 million more per year on capital cases than it would have if all murderers receive life without parole.” The comparison of how much money just the state of Florida could be saving if they opted out of capital punishment is astounding. If that is just how much money could be saved per year in one state, the entire country could benefit from stopping executions over a long period of time. It is obvious the US could save much more money by getting rid of capital punishment vs keeping it. The national debt is always a huge hot topic, and this offers a real solution to a part of that problem. This claim shows my thesis is correct because this article shows how much of an impact (money wise) capital punishment is causing by costing the states in America so much tax money. The millions that would be saved by abolishing this outdated punishment could be put to much better use, for example, things like “education, roads, police officers and public safety programs, after-school programs, drug and alcohol treatment, child abuse prevention programs, mental health services, and services for crime victims and their families.”

The death penalty is viewed immoral to anti-death penalty people. Killing a person who killed someone would undo the crime that has already happened. It sends a message to the society to take an “eye for an eye” approach which leads to an unending cycle of violence. Second, the death penalty is viewed as a violation of the Bill of Rights clause “cruel and unusual” punishment. People who are against the death penalty see execution as barbaric whether it is through the use of lethal injection, gas chamber, electric chair, hanging, etc. Third, there are people on death row who were executed and found later on that they were wrongly convicted. There’s always room for mistakes in the legal system and there are innocent people sentenced to death. There are also hundreds of people who are exonerated from wrongful conviction. Unfortunately, once a person is executed, that person is dead. There is no reverse method to undo the process.

‘Before a prisoner is executed, every effort is made to ensure that no mistakes were made during the trial. The lengthy appeals process is thought to allow any mistakes to come to light’. This has led to criminals being on death row for years, sometimes receiving a reprieve at the last minute. Some consider this emotional whiplash cruel and unusual punishment because it seems like the person is being teased with death. Opponents also argue that “the lengthy appeals process costs an inordinate amount of money that could be better spent elsewhere’. Supporters of the death penalty are also upset with the long time it takes to execute criminals because ‘family members of murder victims often look for closure from the execution of the person who killed their loved one – they feel until justice has been served, they cannot move forward in life’ (Friedman 12). Since it takes a long time to execute a person, families and friends cannot properly grieve and move on with their lives.

It is for this reason, the effect that capital punishment has on innocent people, that the death penalty should be abolished. An extraordinary range of persons beyond merely the defendant are negatively impacted by executions’. These people include victims’ families and friends, the prison guards who work death row, the executioner, and even the jury members. All of them are indirectly affected by the death penalty because they are ‘enduring an event like no other, imminent death’. This is similar to witnessing an accident and experiencing extreme guilt and sadness: though you are not at fault, you still contemplate what you could have done differently, or how you might have helped more. With the death penalty, people experience the same thoughts because they feel as if they are responsible for putting a person to death even though they did nothing but what the court or their jobs asked of them. In many cases, research has shown that these people shift blame to other parties to deny their role in sentencing people to death. ‘Juries blame the judge, the legal system, or the victim’s family for their verdicts, judges blame the juries, and the victim’s families blame judges’.

According to the Pro death penalty people, death penalty can lessen heinous crime rates such as rape and murder. However, there is no actual proof that death penalty can lessen crime rates. According to the Aleck pabico, during president’s Estrada’s term when the death penalty was still implemented, there is an increase of crime rate by 15.3% from 7,527 crimes in 1998 to 82,528 in 1999. In addition to that according to the organization Catholics Against Capital Punishment (CACP) “Most crimes are done out of misplace passion or under the influence of alcohol or drugs” which is true a lot people did crimes of impulsiveness, some humans tend to do things without thinking through in addition to that when a person is mad the decision is impaired and as for the drugs and alcohol, people who intake drugs or alcohol are not in their proper selves when the effects of alcohol and drugs is in their brain. So why bother implement the death penalty if there is no absolute proof that death penalty can lessen crime rates.

I believe that the death penalty should be abolished in the entire US. I am against the death penalty and I believe that life without parole would be a better alternative to murderers and criminals. There are people sentenced to death or executed even though they are innocent. Human life is irreversible once it’s taken away. I do not think we should let the government decide who to die and when is someone ‘s going to die. Our justice system is poor and flawed for a permanent sentence such as the death penalty.

Work Cited

  1. Boys, Stephanie. (2011). The death penalty: An unusual punishment America is inflicting upon itself. Critical Criminology, 19(2), 107-118.
  2. Friedman, Lauri S. (2007). The death penalty. San Diego, CA: Reference Point Press.
  3. Engle, Jeremy. “Should We Abolish the Death Penalty?” Google, Google,
  4. “Five Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty.” Amnesty International Australia, 19 June 2019,

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