The argument of whether or not the death penalty should be abolished as early as the 1800s. Many people who fight for abolishing the death penalty argue that the death penalty invades basic human rights, it is considered a sinful act of punishment for our society to continue to have, it doesn’t decrease crime rates and states that have the death penalty don’t have lower homicide rates compared to states that don’t have the death penalty. Keeping someone on death row is way more costly than having life without the possibility of parole. We have a risk of executing innocent people. The death penalty is more likely going to be against minorities, the poor, and people of different races. The death penalty is considered the “easy” way out. Lastly, fingerprints, ballistics, bite mark evidence, and pattern of evidence have helped prove people guilty but also has state that post-conviction DNA has in fact proven that states have executed innocent inmates.
The death penalty invades basic human rights in multiple ways. This punishment is mostly conducted in an erratic and biased manner. In terms of being used in a biased way it means discrimination against gender, race, etc. The techniques of execution and death row circumstances have been considered as harsh, inhumane, and even in some cases abuse.
Continuing the topic of basic human rights, the death penalty is considered a sinful act of punishment for a society to continue to have. Every individual has a human right to life that cannot be taken away from them, even individuals who commit unspeakable crimes such as murder. Sentencing the individual to death violates that human right to life. An example that backs this claim up is a person risks their life if they start a horrendous murderous attack such as a school shooting and the only way the victims are able to save their life is by killing the attacker (BBC 2014). When the victim kills the attacker in this case it doesn’t mean that they should be convicted of a felony let alone be sentenced to death as it was self-defense. “We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing” say the U.S. Catholic Conference (BBC 2014).
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The death penalty does not decrease crime rates and states that have the death penalty do not have lower homicide rates compared to states without the death penalty. Studies have shown that the death penalty does not discourage crime rates (Tullock 1974). It also shows that life in prison is way more efficient when it comes to the crime rates slow down (Tullock 1974). In America’s death penalty capital in Texas with over 300 executions, there has been little to no effect on crime rate with the death penalty in place (Cohen 2006). There has been no difference in crime with the death penalty anywhere.
Keeping someone on death row is way more costly than having life without the possibility of parole. In the execution of Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing it cost the government $13 million to convict and to follow through with the execution (Cohen 2006). The cost to go through the legal process that is required to follow through with an execution is way more costly than it is to keep an inmate in prison for life without parole. It cost about 48 percent more to have a death penalty trial than it is to have a trial where we are looking for the defendant to have life in prison without the possibility of parole (Cohen 2006).
With the death penalty there is always a risk of executing innocent people. The justice system of the U.S. has been unsuccessful in protecting the innocent people in our country with the death penalty in place. From the year 1973 to 2014, 150 innocent individuals were taken off of death row (ACLU). Everyone in the court process can make mistakes including jurors and witnesses. When mistakes like this happen the possibility of whether or not innocent people will be convicted of a crime is at a much higher risk. When the death penalty is used in such cases the mistake cannot be undone and will never be able to be fixed. Once you execute an innocent person you can’t bring them back.
The death penalty is more likely going to be used against minorities, the poor, and people of different races. Research has shown alarming patterns of the death penalty in the United States, with unconstitutional factors such as race, class, and gender heavily influencing the likelihood of a death sentence. Studies indicate that the race of the defendant was a huge factor in the sense of whether they would have a cheaper lawyer or defense. It shows us that African-Americans were almost 1.7 time more likely than other defendants of different races to receive a lower-cost defense (Gould Fall 2017). They are at a higher risk of having the worse experience and results including the death penalty. People who are in a lower income class are at a high risk to have a lawyer who lacks skills and experience to handle serious matters like getting their client off of death row. The lower the class the more uneducated of a lawyer you might receive.
The death penalty is considered the “easy” way out. The criminals don’t suffer like their victims had suffered. Fugitives such as the Boston bombers didn’t fret death in fact criminals tend to find the capital punishment as a reward instead of a consequence (Burek 2015).
Fingerprints, ballistics, bite mark evidence, and pattern of evidence has helped proven people guilty but also has stated that post-conviction DNA has in fact proven already executed inmate’s innocent. The biggest argument in abolishing the death penalty has been the innocence of the people put on death row. Abolitionist have been able to call out on cases that had a near-execution of inmates that were proven innocent by the support of DNA evidence most specifically more advanced DNA testing. DNA evidence provides clear statements that all states had come close to executing innocent people based on such evidence. In contrast debates about likely execution of the innocent, the “experts” see DNA evidence as a “truth machine” that provides “scientific answers to the questions of guilt or innocence” (Jay D. 2009).
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In conclusion I have shown you eight reasons with statistics to back up the claim into why we should abolish the death penalty. Those being the death penalty invades basic human rights, it is considered a sinful act of punishment for a society to have, it does not decrease crime rates and states that have the death penalty doesn’t have lower homicide rates compared to states that without the death penalty. Keeping someone on death row is way more costly than having life without the possibility of parole. We have a risk of executing innocent people. The death penalty is more likely going to be against minorities, the poor, and people of different races. The death penalty is considered the “easy” way out. Lastly, fingerprints, ballistics, bite mark evidence, and pattern of evidence have helped prove people guilty but also has state that post-conviction DNA has in fact proven that states have executed innocent inmates. There are so many more reasons why the death penalty should be abolished and I just listed a few.
- “Human Rights and the Death Penalty.” American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, www.aclu.org/issues/human-rights/human-rights-and-death-penalty.
- “Ethics - Capital Punishment: Arguments against Capital Punishment.” BBC, BBC, 2014, www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/capitalpunishment/against_1.shtml.
- Tullock, Godon. “Does Punishment Deter Crime?” Public Interest , no. 36, 1974, pp. 103–111.
- Cohen, Burt. “Death Penally Doesn’t Belong in N.H.” New Hampshire Business Review, vol. 28, no. 4, Feb. 2006, p. 20. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bwh&AN=19928502&site=eds-live.
- GOULD, JON B., and KENNETH SEBASTIAN LEON. “A Culture That Is Hard to Defend: Extralegal Factors in Federal Death Penalty Cases.” Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, vol. 107, no. 4, Fall 2017, pp. 643–686. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pbh&AN=125935996&site=eds-live.
- Burek, Chris. “Death Penalty Gives Criminals Easy Way Out.” Cardinal Points, 24 Apr. 2015, cardinalpointsonline.com/death-penalty-gives-criminals-easy-way-out/.
- Jay D. Aronson, and Simon A. Cole. “Science and the Death Penalty: DNA, Innocence, and the Debate over Capital Punishment in the United States.” Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 34, no. 3, 2009, p. 603. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.40539373&site=eds-live.
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