April 15, 2013
Is the Death Penalty Just and Applied Fairly?
The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, is the punishment of execution, administered to someone convicted of a capital crime; it is the most severe form of corporal punishment. The death penalty in the United States has been an ongoing debate throughout history. Capital punishment has been banned in many countries, except in the United States; there are thirty-three states that currently have the death penalty. According to ProCon.org, the United States has executed 1057 people from 1997 through 2006. There are some that are against the death penalty, they feel that it is unconstitutional and immoral. Then, there are others that have a different feeling towards the death penalty; they feel that the ones that commit serious capital crimes should be punished with their own life. Those that support capital punishment say that it is deterrence and that it wastes money on the ones that are doing life. Those that are against capital punishment say that it is killing innocent people and that it is not saving money, that it costs more to put someone on death row. Is the death penalty just and applied fairly? There is no evidence that supports the death penalty being a deterrent to violent crimes. The death penalty is a waste of taxpayer’s money. There have been many innocent people have been sent to death row. Both sides will be argued to give an unprejudiced look with the anticipation that the one who reads this paper will have a better understanding that the death penalty is unjust and not applied fairly.
Part I: Argument
Is the death penalty a deterrent to crime? The death penalty is no more a deterrent to crime than with a sentence of life in prison without parole. Most people who commit violent crimes either do not expect to be caught or do not carefully contemplate the differences between a possible execution and life in prison before they act. Those that commit these violent crimes do this in a moment of anger, or who are drug and alcohol abusers and act with impulsiveness. They are not thinking if they get caught what will happen to them; that is far from their mind at that moment. These criminals do not consider consequences of their actions. It is said to believe that states with the death penalty have a higher rate of violent crimes then states that do not have the death penalty. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, it states that “A recent study by Professor Michael Radelet and Traci Lacock of the University of Colorado found that 88% of the nation’s leading criminologists do not believe the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime.” There is no real evidence that shows if the death penalty deterrents violent crimes, and without real and accurate evidence, no one can be sure. The death penalty does not solve society’s crime problem, by no means.
What about the innocent people who are sent to death row? There have been many innocent people have been wrongfully accused of a crime that they have not committed. Once a prisoner is executed, there is nothing that can be done to make amends if a mistake has been made. “Unlike any other criminal punishments, the death penalty is irrevocable” (American Civil Liberties Union). There is considerable evidence that many mistakes have been made in sentencing people to death. For every eight people that are executed, there is one that is on death row who is innocent. The reasons for an innocent person to be convicted and given the death penalty are: eyewitness errors, government misconduct, and false confessions. “142 people have been exonerated and freed from death row since 1973” (Death Penalty Information Center). Since 1973, there have been a number of innocent people who have been exonerated, but, they still had to serve time for something that they did not do. Since DNA testing became available in the early 1990’s, many death row prisoners