Capital Punishment PHIL 2 Essay

Submitted By chloe005
Words: 1283
Pages: 6

Capital Punishment Capital punishment is one of the most controversial issues in the United States today. Many people have different opinions as to how criminals should be punished. Capital punishment can be referred to as the punishment by execution of someone officially judged to have committed a serious, or capital, crime. Heated debates center on the issues of deterrence, execution of innocents and whether the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment.
Throughout the years the number of inmates on death row has been decreasing. In the 1990’s about 300 death sentences would be given each year, as of 2010 only 114 death sentences were handed out. Currently, Texas is the third state with the most Death Row inmates, and also the state with the most executions. Presently there are 35 states with the death penalty, while the other 15 states oppose it.
As with every issue there are two sides to the death penalty debate. Supporters of capital punishment believe that by having the death penalty it can deter crime, save innocent lives, and it is a fair punishment to murderers. They believe in “a life for a life”. Supporters of the death penalty are known as Retentionists, and are those who wish to retain the death penalty. Retentionists feel strongly that having the death penalty as an option may cause fear to the potential murderer and they will think twice about committing a heinous crime when their life is at stake.
With the lives that the execution of murderers can save, some people might not understand why anyone would want to eradicate the death penalty, but there are several arguments against the death sentence that need to be addressed. For starters Abolitionists, which are those who wish to abolish capital punishment, can argue that life in prison will have the same effect on the deterrent of crime, as would the death penalty. They believe that with the death penalty there is a possibility of executing someone who was wrongly convicted and could be innocent, and also that it violates human rights. Their moral question is not if “They deserve to die?” but “Do we deserve to kill them?” (Helen Prejean). Abolitionists argue that the death penalty is a way to seek revenge for the innocent lives lost.
With regards to the death penalty, I believe that in order to save innocent lives, integrate fear to criminals and bring justice for the crimes committed then the death penalty is necessary in our justice system. Believing in the death penalty does not mean I support the death penalty for everybody. I do not think it is right that a Death Row inmate might be executed being innocent, but we cannot blame it on the death penalty. We need to blame the judicial system, prosecutors and defense attorneys and evidence collectors for not doing their job properly. Blame the trial not the punishment. Abolitionists would like to get rid of the death penalty because of the possibility of executing an innocent person. But can we risk the lives of the innocent people because of the bleak possibility that one day we might be wrong? Certainly human lives are important, for it may easily any of us. We should not abolish capital punishment, but hold our country accountable for properly exercising the death penalty upon those who deserve it.
Abolitionists would like to get rid of the death penalty and if they could have it their way I believe that it would eliminate fear. I believe that any “sane” person when wanting to commit murder will think twice when their life is at stake. With the way our judicial system is now I cannot trust that a life sentence will mean just that. How can we be sure that a murderer serving a life sentence will not try and escape prison or have a chance of parole? How can we be sure that a murderer out on parole will not kill again? In, “I ain’t got time to bleed” Governor Jesse Ventura said:
“How come life in prison doesn’t mean life? Until it does, we’re not ready to do away with the death penalty. Stop