Of the many major social issues in today’s world, one of the biggest issues is the death penalty. I feel strongly about this issue, and I would argue that the death penalty needs to be abolished. The death penalty’s use is mostly due to an “eye for an eye” desire for revenge. To me, it isn’t fair that governments have passed laws that ban killing of people, but those same governments can legally kill through the use of the death penalty.

According to CNN, the death penalty’s use in America is flawed for several reasons. First, life in prison without parole is actually a worse punishment than death, because death puts a person out of their misery. Second, the court proceedings for a death penalty trial cost a lot more than for non-death-penalty cases. CNN explains that “the average length of the initial prosecution for a death penalty case — not including lengthy appeals — means more than a thousand extra days of courtroom resources are being used” as compared to a case where prosecutors want life without parole. Third, the court proceedings in death penalty cases are harder on the families of victims. Fourth, the death penalty is not evenly applied, as only some states allow it, and even within those states there is lots of variation in whether prosecutors pursue the death penalty. Finally, sometimes innocent people are convicted and killed for something they didn’t do.

The International Commission Against the Death Penalty argues some slightly different points. They focus on the risk of executing innocent people, as well as the arbitrary use of the penalty especially against the poor and minorities.  In addition to the CNN article, they argue that the death penalty is incompatible with human rights and human dignity, saying that “The death penalty violates the right to life which happens to be the most basic of all human rights.” Finally, they argue that the death penalty does not actually deter crime.

Tags:

CC BY-SA 4.0 The Death Penalty by Thomas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

10 Comments
  1. Gizel E. 5 months ago

    After reading your post I do agree with your claim that the death penalty should be abolished. You made a good point saying that when you are putting someone into the death penalty it does cost a lot of money. But the thing is you give a reason but the reason doesn’t show how much money is wasted just on one trial. The money wasted is incredible when it comes to the death penalty. ”Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population”[1] That’s a lot of money to spend on each trail, that’s around five hundred twenty thousand dollars more wasted on one trail then trying to use that money for something other than this one person’s death penalty. With this evidence it shows how much the court is waiting for this death penalty. I mean the price to execute someone with drugs is 15 times higher than what it use to be making the court waist even more money [2]. Why are we going to waste so much money on this one person hen we could use it for something to better help the community. It doesn’t make any logical sense.

    Another reason why the death penalty should be abolished is because people might get accused for the wrong crime. If someone is accused for the wrong the crime they might get executed for someone else’s wrong doing, and once someones dead you can’t take it back. “Since 1973, 144 people on death row have been exonerated. As a percentage of all death sentences, that’s just 1.6 percent. But if the innocence rate is 4.1 percent, more than twice the rate of exoneration, the study suggests what most people assumed but dreaded: An untold number of innocent people have been executed” [3]. That’s a lot of people who have been killed for something they had nothing to do with. This is showing that it does happen where people are falsely accused for a crime, it can happen and can happen a lot of the times. “On February 22, 2002, the Eighth District Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the civil case should not have gone to the jury, on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired, and that a claim for wrongful imprisonment abated with Sam Sheppard’s death. In August 2002, the Supreme Court of Ohio declined to review the appeals court’s decision”[4]. This is what happened to a man named Sam Sheppard in 1954 who was accused of killing his pregnant wife. He was sentenced to life in prison. He had insisted a man killed his wife and had attacked him but no one believed him until 1966 when new evidence was shown. Imagine if this man would have been executed for something he didn’t do. He would have died knowing that the true killer had not been caught and his wife would never avenged, he would have died for someone else’s mistake. That’s not right.

    The final reason why the death penalty should be abolished it because the death penalty doesn’t stop any criminals. There not learning from their mistakes they are just getting a way easier way out. “A new survey by the New York Times found that states without the death penalty have lower homicide rates than states with the death penalty. The Times reports that ten of the twelve states without the death penalty have homicide rates below the national average, whereas half of the states with the death penalty have homicide rates above. During the last 20 years, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 48% – 101% higher than in states without the death penalty”[5]. The death penalty doesn’t do anything good there is nothing good about it. Criminals are getting an easy way out, we waste too much money on one person, and it’s a big risk since lots of innocent people can die. The murder rate in states that don’t have the death penalty has remained lower than any state that does have the death penalty [6]. This is crazy, there are so many more reasons to show why the death penalty is not a good thing to have and why its a bad idea to have it in general. The death penalty doesn’t help with anything.

  2. Donald 5 months ago

    -Thomas
    After reading your post, I agree with you that the Death Penalty should be abolished but for different reasons. Such as It impacts minorities more than others, The Death Penalty can kill innocent people,and the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty.
    My first reason why the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that the Death Penalty impacts minorities more than others,to add on to that “The death penalty system in the US is applied in an unfair and unjust manner against people, largely dependent on the race of the victim. Law professor David Baldus and statistician George Woodworth, along with colleagues in Philadelphia, have conducted a careful analysis of race and the death penalty in Philadelphia which reveals that the odds of receiving a death sentence are nearly four times (3.9) higher if the defendant is black”(1). In addition,“while white victims account for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 80% of all Capital cases involve white victims. Furthermore, “As of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims” (1). This evidence is very disheartening that minorities get sentenced to the death penalty more that others just because they’re a minority.
    Also, the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that The Death Penalty can kill innocent people. A majority of people on death row have actually been found innocent. In fact, “144 people” were found to not be guilty of their crimes they were thought of doing(2). Furthermore, evidence that the Death Penalty can kill innocent people is that “Since 1973, over 156 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence. Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed”(2). As you can see the death penalty is wrong. It kills innocent people that did nothing wrong,and if this system stays around you might be its next victim of an unjust execution.

    Finally, my final reason that the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that “the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty. For example, between l990 and l994, the homicide rates in Wisconsin and Iowa (non-death-penalty states) were half the rates of their neighbor, Illinois – which restored the death penalty in l973” (3). To add on,Between 2000-2010, the murder rate in states with capital punishment was 25-46% higher than states without the death penalty(3). As you can see the death penalty doesn’t work by executing people the crime rates grow in those states. So the main point to keep the death penalty around is to lower crime but as you’ve read it doesn’t work the crime rate has grown. It should be gotten rid of.
    In conclusion,I over all agree with your points but after doing research I have found greater points to emphasize the importance of abolishing the death penalty. I hope this helped you grow your argument and make it stronger.

  3. Elijah 5 months ago

    I agree that the death penalty should be abolished. You made a good point by saying that the death penalty doesn’t actually deter crime, but you didn’t really elaborate on that argument. The crime rates in states with the death penalty are higher than the crime rates in states without them. John Donohue from Yale University, and Justin Wolfers from the University of Pennsylvania, explains that “states without the death penalty actually have lower murder rates than those with the death penalty. The murder rate in states with the death penalty is 4.7, while the murder rate drops to 3.1 in states with the death penalty”(1). The death penalty seems to have no effect on deterring crime. In fact, 10 of 12 states without the death penalty have homicide rates lower than the national average. Meanwhile, states with the death penalty have homicide rates higher than the national average. From this evidence it is clear that the threat of death has little to no effect on criminals. Criminals are more concerned with being caught rather than being executed.

    Another reason to support the abolishment of the death penalty is that too many innocent people are killed. The Huffington Post published an article saying “More than 4 percent of inmates sentenced to death in the United States are probably innocent” (2). The death penalty, unlike prison sentences, cannot be undone or overturned. Those wrongfully imprisoned and sentenced to death would spend years in prison suffering and never given the opportunity to be freed. Innocent people do not deserved to get executed because of flaws in the justice system. It can be argued that the death penalty needs to stay legal because it could be “equal and fair” punishment for a crime someone committed. However the death penalty is inhumane, and only a small amount of inmates on death row will get executed anyway. The death penalty does not deter crime, and it is cruel and unusual punishment. Professor Austin Sarat from Providence College estimated that “executions by lethal injection are botched at a higher rate than any of the other methods employed since the late 19th century, 7 percent”(3).

  4. Outback 5 months ago

    -Thomas
    After reading your post, I agree with you that the Death Penalty should be abolished but for different reasons. Such as It impacts minorities more than others, The Death Penalty can kill innocent people,and the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty.
    My first reason why the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that the Death Penalty impacts minorities more than others,to add on to that “The death penalty system in the US is applied in an unfair and unjust manner against people, largely dependent on the race of the victim. Law professor David Baldus and statistician George Woodworth, along with colleagues in Philadelphia, have conducted a careful analysis of race and the death penalty in Philadelphia which reveals that the odds of receiving a death sentence are nearly four times (3.9) higher if the defendant is black”(1). In addition,“while white victims account for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 80% of all Capital cases involve white victims. Furthermore, “As of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims” (1). This evidence is very disheartening that minorities get sentenced to the death penalty more that others just because they’re a minority.
    Also, the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that The Death Penalty can kill innocent people. A majority of people on death row have actually been found innocent. In fact, “144 people” were found to not be guilty of their crimes they were thought of doing(2). Furthermore, evidence that the Death Penalty can kill innocent people is that “Since 1973, over 156 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence. Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed”(2). As you can see the death penalty is wrong. It kills innocent people that did nothing wrong,and if this system stays around you might be its next victim of an unjust execution.

    Finally, my final reason that the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that “the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty. For example, between l990 and l994, the homicide rates in Wisconsin and Iowa (non-death-penalty states) were half the rates of their neighbor, Illinois – which restored the death penalty in l973” (3). To add on,Between 2000-2010, the murder rate in states with capital punishment was 25-46% higher than states without the death penalty(3). As you can see the death penalty doesn’t work by executing people the crime rates grow in those states. So the main point to keep the death penalty around is to lower crime but as you’ve read it doesn’t work the crime rate has grown. It should be gotten rid of.
    In conclusion,I over all agree with your points but after doing research I have found greater points to emphasize the importance of abolishing the death penalty. I hope this helped you grow your argument and make it stronger.

  5. Outback Steakhouse 5 months ago

    -Thomas
    After reading your post, I agree with you that the Death Penalty should be abolished but for different reasons. Such as It impacts minorities more than others, The Death Penalty can kill innocent people,and the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty.
    My first reason why the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that the Death Penalty impacts minorities more than others,to add on to that “The death penalty system in the US is applied in an unfair and unjust manner against people, largely dependent on the race of the victim. Law professor David Baldus and statistician George Woodworth, along with colleagues in Philadelphia, have conducted a careful analysis of race and the death penalty in Philadelphia which reveals that the odds of receiving a death sentence are nearly four times (3.9) higher if the defendant is black”(1). In addition,“while white victims account for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 80% of all Capital cases involve white victims. Furthermore, “As of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims” (1). This evidence is very disheartening that minorities get sentenced to the death penalty more that others just because they’re a minority.
    Also, the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that The Death Penalty can kill innocent people. A majority of people on death row have actually been found innocent. In fact, “144 people” were found to not be guilty of their crimes they were thought of doing(2). Furthermore, evidence that the Death Penalty can kill innocent people is that “Since 1973, over 156 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence. Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed”(2). As you can see the death penalty is wrong. It kills innocent people that did nothing wrong,and if this system stays around you might be its next victim of an unjust execution.

    Finally, my final reason that the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that “the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty. For example, between l990 and l994, the homicide rates in Wisconsin and Iowa (non-death-penalty states) were half the rates of their neighbor, Illinois – which restored the death penalty in l973” (3). To add on,Between 2000-2010, the murder rate in states with capital punishment was 25-46% higher than states without the death penalty(3). As you can see the death penalty doesn’t work by executing people the crime rates grow in those states. So the main point to keep the death penalty around is to lower crime but as you’ve read it doesn’t work the crime rate has grown. It should be gotten rid of.
    In conclusion,I over all agree with your points but after doing research I have found greater points to emphasize the importance of abolishing the death penalty. I hope this helped you grow your argument and make it stronger.

  6. Knock! Knock! Who's there? Kanga Kanga who? Actually, it's kangaroo. 5 months ago

    -Thomas,

    After reading your post, I agree with you that the Death Penalty should be abolished but for different reasons. Such as It impacts minorities more than others, The Death Penalty can kill innocent people,and the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty.
    My first reason why the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that the Death Penalty impacts minorities more than others,to add on to that “The death penalty system in the US is applied in an unfair and unjust manner against people, largely dependent on the race of the victim. Law professor David Baldus and statistician George Woodworth, along with colleagues in Philadelphia, have conducted a careful analysis of race and the death penalty in Philadelphia which reveals that the odds of receiving a death sentence are nearly four times (3.9) higher if the defendant is black”(1). In addition,“while white victims account for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 80% of all Capital cases involve white victims. Furthermore, “As of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims” (1). This evidence is very disheartening that minorities get sentenced to the death penalty more that others just because they’re a minority.
    Also, the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that The Death Penalty can kill innocent people. A majority of people on death row have actually been found innocent. In fact, “144 people” were found to not be guilty of their crimes they were thought of doing(2). Furthermore, evidence that the Death Penalty can kill innocent people is that “Since 1973, over 156 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence. Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed”(2). As you can see the death penalty is wrong. It kills innocent people that did nothing wrong,and if this system stays around you might be its next victim of an unjust execution.

    Finally, my final reason that the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that “the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty. For example, between l990 and l994, the homicide rates in Wisconsin and Iowa (non-death-penalty states) were half the rates of their neighbor, Illinois – which restored the death penalty in l973” (3). To add on,Between 2000-2010, the murder rate in states with capital punishment was 25-46% higher than states without the death penalty(3). As you can see the death penalty doesn’t work by executing people the crime rates grow in those states. So the main point to keep the death penalty around is to lower crime but as you’ve read it doesn’t work the crime rate has grown. It should be gotten rid of.
    In conclusion,I over all agree with your points but after doing research I have found greater points to emphasize the importance of abolishing the death penalty. I hope this helped you grow your argument and make it stronger.

  7. Knock! Knock! Who's there? Kanga Kanga who? Actually, it's kangaroo. 5 months ago

    After reading your post, I agree with you that the Death Penalty should be abolished but for different reasons. Such as It impacts minorities more than others, The Death Penalty can kill innocent people,and the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty.
    My first reason why the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that the Death Penalty impacts minorities more than others,to add on to that “The death penalty system in the US is applied in an unfair and unjust manner against people, largely dependent on the race of the victim. Law professor David Baldus and statistician George Woodworth, along with colleagues in Philadelphia, have conducted a careful analysis of race and the death penalty in Philadelphia which reveals that the odds of receiving a death sentence are nearly four times (3.9) higher if the defendant is black”(1). In addition,“while white victims account for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 80% of all Capital cases involve white victims. Furthermore, “As of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims” (1). This evidence is very disheartening that minorities get sentenced to the death penalty more that others just because they’re a minority.
    Also, the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that The Death Penalty can kill innocent people. A majority of people on death row have actually been found innocent. In fact, “144 people” were found to not be guilty of their crimes they were thought of doing(2). Furthermore, evidence that the Death Penalty can kill innocent people is that “Since 1973, over 156 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence. Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed”(2). As you can see the death penalty is wrong. It kills innocent people that did nothing wrong,and if this system stays around you might be its next victim of an unjust execution.

    Finally, my final reason that the Death Penalty needs to be abolished is that “the Death Penalty doesn’t lower crime rates in states that practice the Death Penalty. For example, between l990 and l994, the homicide rates in Wisconsin and Iowa (non-death-penalty states) were half the rates of their neighbor, Illinois – which restored the death penalty in l973” (3). To add on,Between 2000-2010, the murder rate in states with capital punishment was 25-46% higher than states without the death penalty(3). As you can see the death penalty doesn’t work by executing people the crime rates grow in those states. So the main point to keep the death penalty around is to lower crime but as you’ve read it doesn’t work the crime rate has grown. It should be gotten rid of.
    In conclusion,I over all agree with your points but after doing research I have found greater points to emphasize the importance of abolishing the death penalty. I hope this helped you grow your argument and make it stronger.

  8. Caden 5 months ago

    After reading your article, I agree with you about not having the death penalty. In my own research I found that some prisoners would rather die than have life in prison. Suicides cause the most death in jail, in fact, “Suicide was the leading cause of inmate deaths in local jails, and accounted for 35 percent of jail deaths” (1). If we get rid of the death penalty, the people who were going to get executing will get life in prison and that 35% will rise and the prison will get a free death penalty which will be good because the death penalty costs more than life in prison. The death penalty cost $500,000+ more than prison: “Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population” (2). This shows that if we we do not have the death penalty that we would save about $500,000 and I found that in 1999, 98 people were executed which costs about $123,480,000 when if we did not have the death penalty it would cost about $72,520,000. Meanwhile, in my research I found that the victim could be innocent. About 4% of people but on death row might have actually been innocent. “The four authors reviewed the outcomes of the 7,482 death sentences handed down from 1973 to 2004. Of that group, 117, or 1.6 percent, were exonerated. But with enough time and resources, the authors concluded that at least 4.1 percent of death row inmates would have been exonerated.” (3). This shows that we could be taking 117 people from there families and friends for no reason because we have the death penalty. Now if we did not have the death penalty the families could at least give them a visit in prison. So therefore that is why I agree with this article.

  9. Sean 6 months ago

    Thomas,
    I agree that the death penalty should be done away with, its outdated and ineffective and it costs way too much for what it doesn’t do anymore. It’s an inhumane practice because why should a governing body be able to determine whether or not a person should stay living?

  10. PJ 6 months ago

    Thomas, I agree that the death penalty should be changed but not abolished because of it’s dehumanizing nature. However I don’t think the reason for it is because of revenge I think the idea is that if someone is that dangerous to society then to keep everyone safe we must. I see the problem during the tedious trial all death row cases face, not only are they long and expensive but over used. This article(https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/facts-about-deterrence-and-death-penalty) explains the difficulties with the trial and gives specific examples. I think what we must do to change this is really look at the case and see if it’s necessary, which most of the time it is not. Hope to read more from you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CONTACT US

We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account

%d bloggers like this: