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November 26, 2022

 

Early History of the Death Penalty

The death penalty has been seen in law throughout many civilizations. The earliest use of this practice took place about 1,500 years ago and were brutal forms of killing. This includes crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, and burning alive. Britain heavily utilized the death penalty and had various rulers that would abuse this power. William the conqueror was a more sane ruler and only used this form of punishment in times of war. As for the next ruler Henry VIII, he executed about 72,000 people for crimes of treason, marrying a Jew, and not confessing to a crime. European settlers brought the death penalty to America. Our first execution took place in 1608, and there have been many killings since. During this time, America’s use of the death penalty was for ludicrous crimes, including stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians.

https://nowcomment.com/documents/310639


The Death Penalty is Appropriate

The death penalty has its wrongdoings but provides specific deterrence by subjecting the criminal to death so they can no longer kill any more people. Heinous criminals have been dealt with through this system, and a story is included in the article of two people being put to death for torturing an innocent four-year-old child. The death penalty is written in law through the 5th and 14th Amendments, making it constitutionally correct. This article also addresses the problem with innocent people and the system’s flaws of racial discrimination. Still, if the system can be made right judiciously, then capital punishment could be appropriate at times.

https://nowcomment.com/documents/308318

Crimes Against Humanity

Basically during World War 1 there were lots of executions and it was basically Jews being executed. This war was one of the most devastating wars because over 6 million jews were executed like if it was nothing. But it wasn’t just jews that the germans considered “undesirables” and they are roma’s, gay people, and people with disabilities. So he had many diffrent ways to execute people and one big one was the gas chambers. he would put a bunch of people in gas chambers and killed them because they weren’t part of the so called “Master race” But eventually during the nuremburg trials all the german/nazies involved in this were going to be trialed during the nuremberg trials. But sadly Hitler was a coward and did not want to accept reality so he and his buddies eventually all ended up doing suicide. After this the ones that were left were being condemned with death and others with imprisonment. There were a few who were begging for their lives saying that they didn’t want this to happen they were only following orders. But in the end all of the people who were involved in the Holocaust were paying the price for their misdeeds.

I believe this was a huge/awful event that took place 100 years ago because over 6 million precious lives were lost because of the mentality of 1 monstrous person called “Hitler”. But I am relieved that this has ended and there have not been any mass murders nowadays. But this doesn’t mean it is ended forever there still could come a time were someone that could be worse than hitler and cause way more murderous assassinations.

Why did the Holocaust take place in the first place?


Facts about the Atomic Bomb

If you didn’t know already 75 years ago the United States dropped 2 nuclear bombs on japan. Ever since this incident the world has changed and hasn’t been itself. One of these bombs was so destructive that it boiled 45,000 feet high over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Also because of this 90 percent of the city wiped out in the blink of an eye. But that wasn’t all three days later there was a second bomb on Nagasaki. And after this 75 years ago japan surrendered and World War 2 was over.

This all started with a letter from thee Albert Einstein which was a man who escaped the nazis. Other people tried warning Franklin D Roosevelt about the destructive energy released during the splitting of an atom. So a few years passed and world war 2 had started so Roosevelt was surprised that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor so this was the chance for the US to try out their new toy. And Einstein said “Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb,” he said in 1947, “I would have never lifted a finger”. 

Using A-bombs, even at the end of World War II was controversial and Truman forever defended his actions. In a letter to his sister, he later wrote “I made the only decision I ever knew how to make. I did what I thought was right.” But others thought bombing civilian populations with nuclear weapons was an inhuman, immoral act.


Death Penalty in the Chi

By Elijah and Lalo

Do you feel like people should face the death penalty? Here in Chicago or in the United States in general don’t have the death penalty rule. While in other countries there are many more people killed by the government than in the U.S.

I don’t believe anyone deserves to get the death penalty. First, for once its a violation of are 8th amendment freedom from torture. The way they are executing these criminals. Also meanwhile they are taking are human rights away by doing this because you can not have rights if you are dead.

I feel like a better alternative for countries that still utilize the death penalty. Instead of killing someone we just give them live in jail with no parole. This is a way better alternative because after all you will at least preserve the right to life.


Does the death penalty stop the crimes happen?

There is a controversial issue in our current society, “Does the death penalty stop the crimes happen?” There are extreme parties on each side to support or deny the appliance of the death penalty. Here are the arguments that I conclude and research below.

Some believe that the death penalty can stop crimes happen because of deterrence. Deterrence is the action of discouraging an action or event through instilling doubt or fear of the consequences. In the article, Death Penalty Information Center, it mentioned, “The essence of the theory is that the threat of being executed in the future will be sufficient to cause a significant number of people to refrain from committing a heinous crime they had otherwise planned. Deterrence is not principally concerned with the prevention of further killing by an already convicted death-penalty defendant,” it stated that if people are sentenced to death for their severe crimes, they will probably think deeply before killing for fear of losing their own life, which will decrease the crime possibility.

However, on the other side, some studies regarding deterrence are inconclusive. In the article, A Clear Scientific Consensus That The Death Penalty Does Not Deter, it stated, “the authors report that 88.2% of respondents do not think that the death penalty deters murder—a level of consensus comparable to the agreement among scientists regarding global climate change. At the same time, only 9.2% of surveyed experts indicated that they believed the death penalty results in a significant drop in murder cases,” it reveals that most experts do not believe that the death penalty serves as deterrents to murder, nor do they believe that existing empirical research supports the deterrence theory, which means that the death penalty rarely stops the crimes happen in our society.

In conclusion, some people claim in the US; the death penalty serves as a deterrent that makes violent crime decreases for the executions. Nevertheless, some argue that executions brutalize our society because government and supporters diminish respect for life when the death penalty is allowed. The critical point is that the deterrent only works on those criminals who have consciences, but how can we ensure those criminals have the moral sense or just being a psychopath, who even probably enjoy the deaths. Therefore, the death penalty has become an intractable problem that makes people confused about where to begin to confront and treat it.


The Negative Effects of the Death Penalty

There is a lot of statistical evidence as to why abolishing the death penalty can be good for society. The first big reason is the cost of pre trial, trial, sentencing and the execution. A study done by Seattle University found that “across the country, seeking the death penalty imposes an average of approximately $700,000 more in case-level costs than not seeking death.” The other big argument is that the death penalty doesn’t deter crime.  The New York Times did a study that found “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.”

The death penalty is permanent and the legal system is imperfect. This is a problem because innocent people have been wrongly put to death. According to the ACLU “Since 1973, over 156 people have been released from death rows in 26 states because of innocence.” This means that there have been innocent people put to death that were not able to be exonerated. Another big argument against capital punishment is that it violates the 8th amendment because it can be considered cruel and unusual. Such as in the case with Kenneth Williams where “he did not lose consciousness after the first drug and struggled to breath before he started convulsing.” This is not the first case of this happening and is not guaranteed to be the last. 

With all of this evidence it is clear that the death penalty should not be legal and it should be abolished worldwide. My biggest argument for this is because there have been innocent people that have been convicted and put to death. The only time you can and should kill someone without thinking is if they are an active shooter and it is in the context of actively saving lives. I also believe that if someone is capable enough to kill another human being than they are not scared of death at that point. Just like people who want to die by cop suicide they would rather be killed then spend life in prison and the facts in these articles show capital punishment is not a deterrent.


Should the Death penalty be Legal?

The death penalty has been debated for many decades know and people are always arguing wether or not it is humane or not. The death penalty in many states is still legal but their have been a few states that have decided to ban such consuquence such as New york, New mexico, Washington and many more. There have been many bills that have tried to get the death penalty abolished from every state and many that have tried to do the opposite. We are now learning more and more about the effects the death penalty is having and if it effective or not but, the death penalty will always be a subject to debate between the two sides of the argument and both with very valid consernes on why they are correct. 

On the con side of the debate on the death penalty their are many people that believe that the death penalty is a not humane way to go. They argue that there are many benefits to keeping the prisoners alive rather than taking their life. One such research done by the state of California suggests that it is actually more expensive to execute someone than keep them in jail their entire life time. The few minutes that it takes to kill someone actually costs more than keeping them imprisoned for the remainder of their life, that is crazy. They also claim that the death penalty has the ocassional slip ups where the felon might not actually die immediatly and end up suffering for a period of time, this is particualrlly a prevelent argument against lethal injections. There is also the rare cases where a felon will be executed and then later is found not guilty for whatever reason, they argue that if people were just sentenced to life in prison then they would still have a life to live if they were found not guilty and not sentenced to death, which there is no return from. There are many more smaller points that go along with the con side of this argument but on the other side there are just as many cases.

There are still a fair amount of people that agree with the death penalty and what it is bringing to the table. Their i the obvious argument that if someone has done a capital crime that has involved the death of another person, that they should have to give their life for taking another persons, this is often a term known as eye for and eye. They also claim that if these people are every free that they will kill again so we should take action against them and kill them before they ever get that chance the kill again. They also argue directly against the con side of the argument’s argument that the occasional slip up of the death penalty where the a felon might not die immediately is actually balanced by the benefits it brings to society by putting away another murderer, in other words if it doesn’t kill them immediately that is a rarity that they are willing to risk to get rid of another murderer. 


Questioning the Death Penalty

The death penalty has been around for a while and people have called for it to be abolished. I think that if someone committed that serious of a crime then they should have to go to prison because they would suffer more there.
This ProCon.org page gives multiple pros and cons of the death penalty. Some of the pros say that it is an appropriate punishment for what some criminals have done. A con is it “contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society” and that it is not our right to have something like that.
CNN questions the death penalty in this article. The author says “the victims will often have died much worse deaths than the killer will be subjected to.” They also give financial reasons as to why the death penalty wouldn’t make sense. Having the death penalty would cost states $3.5 million compared to $150,000 without. There are also innocent people who end up on death row.

https://nowcomment.com/documents/118449#.W-MJZ2hKjrc


Discrimination and Capital Punishment

Recently, Washington State abolished the death penalty under the pretense that it is unconstitutional due to racial bias. With the case State v. Gregory, “the state court held that the death penalty, as imposed in the state of Washington, was unconstitutional because it was racially biased.”  The Washington State Supreme Court looked at statistics surrounding the death penalties, focusing on two studies in particular. The first study found that counties that had a higher black population had more death penalties conviction. The second study shows that in Washington a black man was 4.5 times more likely to be given the death penalty than a white man in the same situation. Using these statistics, it was concluded that the death penalty was influenced by racial bias and therefore is unconstitutional.

The issue of racial bias and the death penalty is found in states other than Washington, including Ohio. According to Ohio.com, there’s a concentration of of death penalty convictions from two counties, with over 56% of all death sentencing coming from Cuyahoga and Franklin counties. This could imply racial bias, depending on the crime rate in the counties. There are also issues surrounding false convictions. 1 person is released for every 6 people executed, higher than the National average of 1 in 10. There’s also issues surrounding the costs. If there was an investigation, “they would find that the roughly 330 death sentences since 1981 have likely cost Ohio taxpayers over $1 billion.” When taking all of these issues into account, it is difficult to say we need to keep the Death Penalty. 

While it may be difficult, some people still do. Many people say that those who get the Death Penalty are those who have committed the worse crimes. In California, Death Row inmates have killed over 1,000 people. The claim is made that not only do we need capital punishment to protect us from the worst of the worst, but it brings closure to victims family. The issue surrounding this is that while over 1,000 people have been killed by those on death row, it’s highly unlikely that everyone on death row committed a crime, which false convictions being an issue. With a glaring issue like this, it’s hard to justify continuing the Death Penalty, even though it might bring closure to families.


The Death Penalty Debate

It is known by several names. Death penalty. Capital Punishment. True Justice. The act of being put to death due to a particularly vicious crime has long been employed. In more recent times, the ethical questions of such a severe punishment have been brought caused many nations to do away with capital punishment. As a matter of fact, the United States is when of the few modernized nations that still use the death penalty. Today, citizens and prisoners alike are butting heads over whether to keep the punishment or do away with the death penalty.

As in all debates, the death penalty has its supporters and those who wish to see it abolished. In “Should the Death Penalty be Allowed”, Anne Marie Schubert, JD, Sacramento County District Attorney, states that “In our experience, most survivors want ‘justice’ for the murderers of their family members. Repealing the death penalty will not heal these people’s’ wounds; it keeps them permanently open.” Proponents of the death penalty often use this argument. How could we, as a society, continue to bring pain to these people when the solution is clear?

On the opposite side of the argument, protestors say the death penalty is outdated and unethical. The opponents to the death penalty also state that the cost of trials seeking the death penalty is unnecessarily high. Philip Holloway, a CNN correspondent, wrote in his article entitled, Time to Question Sanity of Death Penalty”, “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. Judges, prosecutors, public defenders, court reporters, jurors, bailiffs and other courtroom staff are all needed just to conduct a trial, and that means spending a lot of money from state coffers that could have been used elsewhere.” Those opposed to the death penalty do not see it worth the emotional, physical, and ethical costs.

#Judge #DeathPenalty #Ethics #Humane


Should the Death Penalty be Allowed?

The Death Penalty is a hot button issue in most of the United States, with issues surrounding it coming to the Supreme Court this year. There are many questions surrounding it past the issue of just the Death Penalty as well, including who should be killed and when exceptions should be made. Arguments can also be made that the Death Penalty hurts the image of state. Should some states allow the death penalty if it injures their reputation? These are all questions that have to be answered surrounding this topic.

Amnesty.org argues that the death penalty in Florida ultimately hurts their reputation in
“Florida’s Diehard Pursuit of the Death Penalty is a Blot on the Sunshine State.” Florida is one of the few states that still push the Death Penalty, having the second largest death row in the country. 19 states have abolished the death penalty, though Florida has yet to put an end to the killing of people with mental and intellectual issues, much less the killing of everyone in general. Since 1976, Florida has had the 4th most executions in the country. Florida also has issues allowing death row inmates from having their death penalty reviewed before their execution, limiting the effect of Hurst vs Florida which increased the role of juries in deciding punishment.

As mentioned earlier, the issue of the death penalty has returned to the Supreme Court through Madison v. Alabama and Bucklew v Precythe. While the Death Penalty is shrinking in the U.S, some issues still need to be ironed out. In Madison v. Alabama the issues is about whether or not it is moral to execute those who cannot remember their crime, and Bucklew v Precythe is about the execution of people with physical conditions. In the case of Vernon Madison, he murdered a police officer in 1985 and have since suffered a series of strokes, leading to him forgetting his crime. The argument is that no justification or retribution can be gained by executing someone who cannot remember his crime. These are both questions that need to be answered surrounding the requirements and boundaries for the death penalty, and show that this is still and issue we are trying to work out today. 

 


Is the Death Penalty Fair?

I am passionate about this issue because it is a life or death situation and in most cases involving the death penalty, the convicted don’t deserve to die. In extreme instances, innocent lives are taken away. The authoritative figures in this country have the power to stop it and save lives.

Before starting this project, I didn’t know much about the project, except for the fact that some of the prosecuted are innocent and that lethal injections and electrocutions are used to end their lives. I also knew that it isn’t as common as it once was and is only used if the criminal performs a mass felony, such as mass murder or treason.

Now, after doing the project, I know that the death penalty involves much more than an innocent or guilty verdict. Race plays a large part into who is sentenced to the death penalty and most prosecutors are white, giving the Caucasian race an advantage. I also found out that different states accept different ways of performing the penalty and that it has more opposers than I thought.


Capital Punishment. Moral or Not?

I am passionate about this issue because I believe anyone who commits a crime worthy of the death penalty really deserves to suffer for their whole lives. I don’t believe they should be able to take such an easy way out. The death penalty also goes against basic rights such as the human right to life. Prior to starting this project, I knew that capital punishment was in effect in the United States and that often innocent people were wrongly sentenced to death. This is also another reason why i am passionate about this issue because I believe it is not fair for innocent lives to be taken away due to an error in the justice system. I feel that there should be more evidence required to convict someone of such a serious crime with such serious consequences. I feel that Dna evidence should be required or video evidence in order to put someone to death. This would reduce the chances of an innocent man being put to death.

 

After conducting my research I now know who supports capital punishment, who opposes it, how many victims there are and who those victims are. The majority of the supporters are black men and republicans. They support it because they believe it will discourage crime and the crime rate will go down. The people who oppose capital punishment are generally democrats because they believe that it has no effect on crime rate. The victims of capital punishment in the United States are mostly white men. The second largest majority is black men. I also learned that statistically, capital punishment does not lower homicide rates. In addition, the methods of capital punishment usually consist of lethal injection or electrocution. Firing squads were used three times since 1976 and gas chambers were used 11 times. The total murders since 1976 is 1472.


Death Penalty

Death penalty became part of american justice system since the eighteenth century and until today, many countries practice this system. Some may argue that the death penalty is the best and efficient way to end crime and some may argue it’s just an inhuman act. In America alone 31 states out of 50 have death penalty, where criminals are electrocuted, put in gas chamber, or injected. Electrocution was introduced in New York as a more humane method than hanging by Death penalty information center, and it is consider as unconstitutional.
The death penalty cost around 230 million per year, which is a lot of money and some organization as 
Amnesty international, urges people to join their organization to help stop the death penalty in US. Death penalty is critical subject to many, both those who are against and for it. People who are against death penalty always argue about how inhumane, costly, and unconstitutional it is. By killing the criminal one does not end crime, nor can stop crime, but some argue it appease in some way their pain and it’s the fairest thing one can ask for. I personally abstain my self form giving a conclusion,only because I never had a loved one killed or in death row. But with the few knowledge I have on death penalty, I would never wish it on anyone not even my enemies.


The Death Penalty

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.


A Question of Morality: The Death Penalty

According to deathpenaltyinfo.org (https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/death-penalty-international-perspective), in 2015 the United States executed the fifth most people in the world, behind China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.  This means that our government kills more people annually than most other countries in the world, which brings a very specific question to the table: are executions morally correct, especially to one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world?  I would argue that our government choosing who lives and who dies is not morally correct in even the slightest way, because it means that our government is so powerful that it has the final say in issues of paramount importance as life and death.
The death penalty is the most obvious representation of the philosophy “an eye for an eye”; however, as Gandhi puts it, “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”  In other words, killing people that kill other people doesn’t fix any problems, but merely adds to the pool of blood.  Some, such as Edward Feser, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College, say that “we reserve the death penalty in the United States for the most heinous murders and the most brutal and conscienceless murderers. This is not, as some critics argue, a kind of state-run lottery that randomly chooses an unlucky few for the ultimate penalty from among all those convicted of murder. Rather, the capital punishment system is a filter that selects the worst of the worst” (https://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001038).  However, the issue I take with this is that someone in the United States is deciding where the line is drawn, in other words who gets killed and who is allowed to live.  No one, especially a civilized government, should be granted that power, much less assume that it is their right.
There are other reasons not to practice the death penalty, such as the cost and other logistical aspects, but the biggest problem with it is that we are killing people who kill people because killing is wrong, and that is not morally correct.  Our civilized and modern government continues on with this practice that has existed for thousands and thousands of years without stopping to take a look at whether or not it is right.  It has been said many times that the death penalty doesn’t actually deter heinous crimes, and anything that is morally questionable and that doesn’t work shouldn’t exist.

The death penalty and when it is appropriate.

A few hundred years ago, all around the world, the penal system was absolutely. People would be sentenced to death for even the most petty of crimes and nothing would be thought of it. Public executions would be held as a form of entertainment, and average citizens could occasionally participate in the killings themselves. However, our society as a whole has reached a point where the death penalty is a very debated over problem that no group can reach a unanimous decision upon. A lot of factors go into this decision, and the process in its entirety can take months or years to complete, all the while people are having arguments over its usage. So, my question is when is the death penalty considered to be appropriate?

I found a site that discusses the pros and cons of the issue as a whole and it provided a lot of new information that I had previously not considered, such as cost or constitutionality. Though it is considered to be a cheaper alternative than that of a life sentence for a prisoner, the amount that adds up from trials and other events can actually be much more expensive:

“[A]ll of the studies conclude that the death penalty system is far more expensive than an alternative system in which the maximum sentence is life in prison.”

However, there are some crimes so vile that releasing the prisoner would never be a viable option, and having that person around other inmates could cause serious threats to their health as well. So, the only logical way to go about it would be to enact the death penalty. Though it is given in very, very special circumstances, there are usually very good reasons behind it.

I found another website that also offers some differing opinions on the topic, that brings to light even more factors that I had not considered. The first of these is the argument that it teaches the condemned person nothing. Simply killing the person will not make them learn the errors of their ways and will only enforce he ideal that there is no other way to go about life:

“But if that child grows up and murders someone for their wallet or just for fun, and they are in turn put to death, they are taught precisely nothing, because they are no longer alive to learn from it. We cannot rehabilitate a person by killing him or her.”

However, on the other side of the same topic, others argue that the death penalty is not meant to teach the person wrong from right. The people that are given the death penalty are truly the worst of the worst, and to keep them around in functioning society would only be a hindrance. People like serial killers, rapists, and pedophiles should not be given another opportunity to be released into the public where they have the potential to repeat the actions that led to their initial incarceration.


Capital Punishment

The ancient tradition of capital punishment has been used by many different civilizations since the beginning of time. With an ‘eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth’ mindset, humans have been watching other humans pay their debt of crime with their lives. You would think that by now we would have a more empathetic view of other people, or at least a different tactic for making prisoners “pay the price”. Yes, we are seeing that the number of states banning the death sentence is steadily growing, but this is happening slowly, and quite frankly it should have happened a long time ago. How is it that in the civilized world we live in today, our government has the power to execute those they deem worthy of death?

With all the statistics pointing to the conclusion that capital punishment is not effective it is baffling to accept that the U.S still practices this form of “correction” for one’s actions. In fact, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, 88% of past and current top criminological society presidents state that the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder. If it isn’t fixing anything, what even is the point? The government should only have the most necessary laws in place: those that are absolutely needed for our freedom, our safety, and our justice. The death penalty violates the freedom aspect of this.

Whether you are religious or not, I speak for myself and probably many others when I say it is unjust for a ruling body to decide the end of any person’s life. Each person deserves dignity and freedom to live the life they were given. Prison is punishment enough for crime. It keeps criminals off the streets, and I can only imagine that life in prison must be miserable. Letting days waste away when one is incarcerated feeling guilt for their offense would take an immense toll on a life. If people are into the idea that others need to have ‘had what’s coming’, then this satisfies that without killing a possibly innocent person.

These are my views on the death penalty having lived in a state that still practices it, in a country that hasn’t yet gotten rid of the tradition yet. I believe that we should have moved past this method of punishment long ago, but the fact that it still happens is sickening. If you have an opinion on this social justice issue, please share it. It’s important to keep the dialogue going among those with varying views, especially with a controversial topic like this.

 

Sources:

“What’s New.” DPIC | Death Penalty Information Center, deathpenaltyinfo.org/.


The Juvenile Justice System: Deeply Flawed

In privileged communities across America, the phrase “kids are the future” is sung to remind children that they matter. But when we put juveniles in prison, it becomes clear that our justice system does not treat every kid, teen or young adult as important to our country’s success, growth and change. If we want ideas that will bring life to worn down towns, voices that will unite, and true equality, we must give juveniles convicted of petty crimes or misdemeanors another chance. We must put more money into the future success of each child in America than we do in punishing those who make mistakes and we must be equal, humane and just in how we punish juveniles.

According to research done by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program, in October of 2015 there were 48,043 juveniles incarcerated in residential facilities across the United States. About ⅓ of these children are in state facilities, ⅓ are in local facilities and ⅓ are in private facilities. While these numbers are large, since 1995 that rate of juvenile incarceration as of 2010 has dropped 41%, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. There is hope for us to continue this trend, but without drastic change in the mindsets and legislation surrounding juvenile incarceration, we will not be able to take a significant step forward.

One, among many problems, in the way we punish juveniles is that the justice system overcorrects. The juvenile prison population has become full of children whose records are clear of homicide and assault, but who are too severely sentenced. In 2010, only one in four incarcerated juveniles had committed a violent offense such as sexual assault, robbery, homicide or aggravated assault, says a report by the Annie E Casey Foundation. Six years later, data collected in 2016 by the Prison Policy Initiative shows that across the country, a total of 40% of all juvenile detentions are due to drug possession, violation of probations, minor offenses of public order or offenses such as trespassing. These kids are not a threat to public safety, yet the systems treatment of them does not, for the most part, differentiate by intent or surrounding circumstances. In 2015, the population of incarcerated youth for “person offenses” such as rape, homicide, assault or robbery was 50% or more of the incarcerated population in only six states, 12% of the country, including the District of Columbia as shown by data collected by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program.

In the United States, we also face a problem in that minority juveniles are vastly overrepresented across the country among all types of correctional facilities. While 38% of the juvenile population is minorities, according to data collected by the Prison Policy Initiative, from 2015, 69% of the national juvenile residential placement population were minorities. Minorities are more often victims of sexual assault. In 2012, 64% of juveniles who reported being sexually victimized by either staff or other juveniles were minorities according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program. The problem of mistreatment of minority juveniles does not stop in the courtroom, but is perpetuated in juvenile facilities of all kinds.

There are two great disparities in the structure of social services and the justice system in the United States when it comes to racial and ethnic inequalities. The first is that minority juveniles have decreased access to high quality public education and support networks which have both been proven to play a large role in keeping juveniles out of prison. The second is that the criminal justice system continues to convict and sentence minorities at the harshest rate. In order to create a more just justice system, work must be done in communities across America to ensure that all children have equal access to the educational and social systems which will give them tools to reach success.

Emma Widra recently wrote an article entitled “Incarceration Shortens Life Expectancy” in which she explains that every year spent incarcerated decreases life expectancy by two years. Nationally, our country’s life expectancy has fallen five years due to the sheer size of the population of incarcerated adults in America. If we continue to put juveniles behind bars, we are continuing to devalue the lives of each individual while also negatively affecting the health of the American population as a whole.

While in many ways, it seems unimaginable to treat juveniles as anything but kids who are growing up and making mistakes, people across the country hold on to the criminal justice system as the answer to public safety and punishment. In many ways, it is easier to lock people up without second thought than it is so invest emotion, passion and time into mentoring, educating, supporting and protecting juveniles who have made mistakes. This is the reason that we spend more on the incarceration of juveniles per individual in many states across the country than we do on the education of minors. For some people, states and systems, there is no way to abolish detention centers and prisons. Many people fail to put themselves in the shoes of those imprisoned, cannot comprehend the pain that life without parole brings and believe that some people truly are “bad.” If politics get in the way,

If we can’t find a way to put an end to juvenile imprisonment as a whole, we should at least work towards what is called “the Missouri Method” in juvenile residential centers across the country. Of the state’s 32 residential facilities, only three of them have more than 33 beds according to a report called “The Costs of Confinement” done by The Justice Policy Institute. The recidivism rate is around 8.7 percent which proves that the low juvenile to employee ratio, high educational standards and intentionally low-population system is not only effective but perhaps even beneficial for juveniles and their communities. Even more impressive is the way in which the Missouri Department of Youth Services has configured their finances. According to Youth First, the state spends about $89,170 per juvenile per year, only 9.7 times more than it spends per student per year in the public school system. $89,170 is not an insignificant number, but in the context of the country as a whole, it is among the lowest.

The United States criminal justice system can no longer operate as the catch-all for kids have made mistakes within the legal realm. Anybody who spends time with teenagers knows how hard it is to create a balance between tough and understanding, but can also knows how necessary it is to support teenagers as they grow up. While the American public education system is constantly working to improve the academic and social lives of teens, it is clear that the same is not being done by the criminal justice system. In order to continue to grow and improve as a country, we have to start with the way we treat those at the bottom of the social, economic or racial hierarchy which is so deeply, and unfortunately, engrained in our country.


The Fox and the Wolf (Remixed)

This project is based on a moral “The Fox and the Wolf” by the Brothers Grimm which was adapted by me. The story’s moral was that you should not betray anyone.

[iframe allowtransparency=”true” width=”485″ height=”402″ src=”//scratch.mit.edu/projects/embed/134682139/?autostart=false” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]

I first chose my story, then did a quick script, then later did a storyboard and then I coded it to make an actual story.

Here is a link to my script that I made:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dJnXxbC2E0O_aUUir5Rg7F01oidbsZf3WM9STYAGHDE/edit?usp=sharing

Here are my storyboards:
http://www.youthvoices.live/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/unit-3-act-1-anisha-menashi-5.pdf
http://www.youthvoices.live/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/unit-3-act-2.pdf

Thanks!!


THE GOOSE-GIRL remixed

This is my adaptation about THE GOOSE-GIRL by Brothers Grimm. Its about a princess who is going to get married and along the way she is forced to follow her maid’s orders. Now she has to decide whether or not to kill the maid.

[iframe allowtransparency=”true” width=”485″ height=”402″ src=”//scratch.mit.edu/projects/embed/134681489/?autostart=false” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]

First, I had to figure out an alternate ending to the story to make it interactive. Then I made a script based on the story by Brothers Grimm.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YPIw0WMwUgxfLo2jgbVQ8O59VK2DYN1d0W3C26boJrk/edit?usp=sharing

Using that script and scratch.mit.edu, I made an interactive animation.


Capital Punishment

The death penalty in America is a broken process from start to finish. Death sentences are predicted not by the heinousness of the crime but by the poor quality of the defense lawyers, the race of the accused or the victim, and the county and state in which the crime occurred.”  Capital Punishment is a huge issue even today being that the death penalty is legal eleven states.  

Executions began a long time ago mainly occurring in the south, yet still, continue as a method of punishment for a crime committed.  The problems with this sentencing is that goes against the idea of our human right to life.  In many cases, the enforcement fails to consider conditions of criminals that cause them to commit the crime mainly being mental health.  The death penalty is often considered to be less money than keeping a prisoner for a life sentence, however, this actually isn’t true.

Capital punishment is actually very expensive, especially pertaining to some techniques used.  Another big issue would be the “administration of executions is utterly flawed…” It is not uncommon for the executions to actually cause pain and torture even though its promised otherwise.  The death penalty is becoming less common every year, both states and communities throughout the U.S. are becoming more and more against it.  The amount executed as a country is decreasing every year, and soon will possibly be completely abolished.

https://www.aclu.org/issues/capital-punishment

http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5156


Behind the Scenes of the Electric Chair

I was inspired by the book, Dead Man Walking by Sister Helen Prejean to gather information about the death penalty, and more specifically the electric chair method. The main character in the book, Patrick Sonnier goes through an arduous trial regarding the assault and murder of two adolescents, and as the book moves along Patrick is accused of playing an active role in the murder alongside his brother, Eddie. To Sister Prejean’s dismay, Patrick is given a date for his execution by electric chair. In this book, we are given a few facts on what happens to a person that goes through this process.

It has been previously said that death by electrocution is one of the more “humane” methods of execution, although lethal injection is currently a more preferred way of execution. In my opinion, and some opinions of others conclude that there really is no humane way of execution.

The process of electrocution is as follows: the patient’s chest, groin, and limbs are strapped to the chair and his or her body is typically shaved to reduce the resistance of the electricity, an electrode in the form of a metal skull cap is placed on his or her scalp, and the forehead is moistened with a saline solution. The patient is covered and the execution team leaves the room, a jolt ranging from 500 to 2,000 volts is then surged through the body, taking about thirty-second to reach the voltage. After that, if the patient’s heart is still beating, an additional jolt is sent through the body.

The process is continued until the patient is dead. Common sites during the shock include: clenching of the hands and violent thrashes of his or her limbs. The aftermath of electrocution includes: steaming and/or swelling of the body. Witnesses of electrocution claimed to have seen the eyes popping out and heard a “frying” sound.

Some may or may not support this form of execution. Electrocution is typically used when access to lethal injection is limited according to the Tennessee legislature in 2014. To my surprise, the number of executions done by electrocution since 1976 is currently 158 people. States including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, [Oklahoma], South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia allow the use of electrocution as a form of execution under certain circumstances. I hope that as years go on, this method will become completely illegal in all fifty states.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/methods-execution?scid=8&did=245#state

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/descriptions-execution-methods

 


Death Penalty in the U.S.

The issue of using the death penalty for criminals in the U.S. is a highly debated topic. On one side, you have the people who want it to be illegal and abolish the death penalty altogether. 

One of this side’s biggest arguments for why this should happen is that many innocent people end up wrongly executed. Innocence is often proven after the execution has taken place, and people are wrongly put to death. 

They also argue that it is very expensive to put criminals on death row. The trials for death penalties are very lengthy and expensive. There are even two trials, one for the verdict, and one for the sentencing. After this, there are still many appeals, and overall it costs more money than it would save.

Another popular argument is that using the death penalty is a form of revenge. Killing someone for killing others continues the use of violence, and it is unconstitutional. 

However, there is another side who argue that the death penalty should and needs to be used.

One of their biggest arguments is that the death penalty can stop potential criminals from committing crimes. According to a study conducted in the late 1960’s, there was a 7% crime rate increase the years this law was abolished. People for the death penalty will often cite statistics like this to show that the death penalty is effective.

Another strong argument is that the death penalty is just used for crimes that were committed against the right to life and freedom of victims. Since people have the right to safety and to live in peace, these crimes break this. They argue that it is only fair to bring them to justice in this way.

Finally, they too argue that it is cheaper to use the death penalty. Technically, life imprisonment is accumulatively higher given the expenses for food, healthcare and other costs of keeping the inmates alive.

Both sides have valid points, and this will likely continue to be a hot-button topic for a long time.

Sources:

http://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002000

http://www.balancedpolitics.org/death_penalty.htm

 


Do we matter in this world?

Dear Mr./Mrs. President,

Hi my name is Kathleen and, first I would  like to  congratulate you on winning! Second I want to talk about major issues in our world I would like for you to fix. An important issue in our  country is that Black lives matter movement!

I believe  U.S.A is for everyone in every culture to be here to be safe and to have fun and live life.

In the U.S.A, today Black people are not living lives. They are not having fun and they can consider saying that they are not safe here. Recently a white police officer shot a Black person thinking he was going to kill him. But he was not and so she shot the Black man. According to www.hillaryclinton.comDonald Trump doesn’t care about Black lives.

Third I want to say that we have to save children! We keep getting kidnapped and no one is caring for that. Police officers need to be on the search for more time and more into this problem. Last time I checked, kids make this world unique and fun! I want children to live life. I want children to have as much fun as all grown ups wanted, but even more fun. I want children to be safe! Don’t you?

Last but not least, I want to say help our world! Our world can be fixed our world will be fixed with no world harm no loss of children and Black Lives Matter, and I am sure that lots and lots of people want this to stop. Once again I want to congratulate you on winning and I  hope you can make these things happen!

Sincerely,

Kathleen

Photo by Johnny Silvercloud


The death penalty. Is it ok?

My Mother lived in the West Indies when she was younger. I remember her telling me that, when someone was found guilty of murder, he or she would be subjected to an open hanging. The thought of this seems so gruesome and, we know that a form of execution such as that would not be allowed in the states. However, The whole time she lived there only 2 murders were committed. These deaths served as the deterrent and a reminder what would happen if one  committed murder.

As we know, the story is a little different in America. As of December 15, 1791, We no longer tolerated cruel and unusual punishment. This raises the question. Is the death penalty a cruel and unusual punishment? Or is this an eye for an eye situation? As mentioned in TIME magazine, “We (Americans) value tolerance and diversity- but certain outrages will not be put up with.” Some crimes are one’s such destruction and hate, that a punishment such as death only seems fitting.

To the contrary, we are teaching not to kill by killing. Killing the killer won’t bring the victim or victims back. In addition, death row inmates are more expensive than “normal” inmates.

According to death row facts. Org, cases without the death penalty cost $740,000 compared to death row cases that cost $1.26 million. Also, what about the falsely accused. Although rare, there have been cases where the death row prisoner was innocent. The question is , knowing this where do we as a nation go from here?

“Costs of the Death Penalty.” DPIC. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.

“Here’s Why The Death Penalty Is Doomed in America.” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.

https://www.youthvoices.live/category/civic-engagement/death-penalty/