March 3 2013
Outdated Practice The Death Penalty is a constantly debated matter in the United States. There are many reasons why we should have the death penalty, and why we should not have the death penalty. But the facts remain that there are many issues in our handling of capital punishment, and the statistics prove that not only does the death penalty not do what it is supposed to, but Life in Prison without parole is an equally effective practice to prevent repeat offenses. The death penalty has become an outdated form of punishment and society needs to move past it. The actual cost of executing someone is monumentally more expensive than the price of Life imprisonment. After calculating the price of the numerous appeals, and the special treatment of the inmates on death row, it is actual more expensive to put someone to death then it is to keep someone alive for the rest of their life. In a university study it was concluded that “The most comprehensive study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the costs of a non-death penalty murder case with a sentence of imprisonment for life,” (Duke University). Many people do not realize that actual treatment of the individuals on death row and how extensively protected and the level of security on the individuals: “During this time, they are generally isolated from other prisoners, excluded from prison educational and employment programs, and sharply restricted in terms of visitation and exercise, spending as much as 23 hours a day alone in their cells,” (Deathpenaltyinfo.org). During that time they are under constant surveillance and under the control of trained guardsmen, as opposed to the treatment of individuals who are sentenced to life in prison without parole who can be placed into general population without the needs of specially trained guardsmen or special treatment. This is very beneficial because it does not require added effort for those who have committed murder. Instead they are treated like any other prisoner and allow money to be saved by handling them as a group as opposed to singling out the prisoners who have been sentenced to death. If someone is wrongly sentenced and receives the death penalty, then there is no way of correcting that mistake. The fact of the matter is that when you are sentencing someone in any trial, it is very difficult to prove that the individual is guilty, and people are constantly being convicted for crimes they did not commit. In any sentence other than the death penalty, the convicted individual has opportunities to be proven innocent. But in the death penalty there is no turning back. The issue is that people are wrongly convicted more often than most people realize. According to the American Civil Liberties Union:
Innocent people are too often sentenced to death. Since 1973, over 140 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.
The court systems are simply to imperfect to gamble on the lives of U.S. citizens. If ten percent of every person who is given the death penalty is innocent, that is a very frightening statistic. The fact of the matter is that the risk is too great and when dealing with a human life it is too high of a stake to simply take that risk. The death penalty is the only punishment of this nature because death is irreversible, and even if someone is placed in prison for multiple years and is later found to be innocent, there are measures to make things right with the individual. Life in prison also guarantees no future crimes, and also allows the people affected by the convict to move on with their lives. The family knows that the person who has harmed their loved ones received what he deserved, and instead of waiting however many years for the individual to be put to death, they can begin