The Death Penalty - Public Safety vs. Individual Rights
Introduction This paper will focus on the criminal justice system, public safety and civil rights in specific relation to the death penalty as a form of punishment and its effects on society. The execution of criminals and the effects on society are most intriguing and can be debated upon both for and against the issue give a thorough elaboration on criminal executions and the effects on society. In this day and age, research not only illustrates that the death penalty is complex, in more ways than one, but has also raised questions about its relations to deterring crime and the financial impact it has on society. Using current and historical information, such as articles and scholarly articles, to support why this research is important and possible methods society could use to help improve this controversial debate.
The Orange County register printed an article on the death penalty and possibly being considered as immoral. “While the commission drops the dime on the mind-numbing cost of administering the death penalty, it barely hints at the moral and ethical depravity of the practice” (Mears, 2008). The article states that there are racial and socioeconomic bias towards the death penalty and how this can and may lead to a cause for concern among citizens. This seems to initiate that in most cases the targets of race are African American and Hispanics/Latinos, which actually happens to be the minority of the overall population. “Thirty-four percents of those executed in America since 1974 have been black, while African Americans represent only 13% of the general population” (Mears, 2008). Many might ask about the criminal and social injustice that ensues what is known to us as our criminal justice system and the public safety versus individual rights. With prior knowledge some may already be familiar with the expensive monetary flow and debt that compiles with using execution as a form of criminal punishment. “Research proves that the procedure and execution process are far more expensive than sentencing a person to life without the possibility of parole” (Mears, 2008). According to the article, death row trials are more expensive than other murder trials and the initial costs of keeping an offender on death row is nearly $200,000 per year. With this being said, shouldn’t government propose some alternative and positive forms of rehabilitation to fit the budgetary needs for our country?
An Eye for an Eye Since biblical times, society has used “an eye for an eye” as their strategic solution for those who have committed murder. “The first person sentenced to death in the U.S was in 1608 for spying for the Spanish government” (Stanton, 1927). Crime, criminals, and the overall aspect of the criminal justice system have always been intriguing and debatably controversial. One complex dilemma within the system, with much room for discussion, is capital punishment. Why does the government deem murder against the law when, as a form of punishment, they are executing those who commit murder, themselves? Does capital punishment ultimately deter crime? Does it violate one’s individual rights or can it be a useful solution for public safety? Should the United States abolish the death penalty due to the enormous financial deficit that comes with keeping someone on death row?
Retentionists vs. Abolitionists Retentionists are those who place themselves for the death penalty. “Retentionists argue that only the death penalty can adequately protect society; because criminals who are given a life sentence are often paroled and thus able to commit other crimes” (Neumayor, 2007). Retentionists believe that the mistake of convicting an innocent person is unlikely. “Abolitionists counter argue that there is no indication that people who have committed capital crimes are more likely