Capital punishment in America has been around since the colonial times of Jamestown. The first ever recorded execution was of Captain George Kendall who was shot by a squad in Jamestown (Green). Some say he was accused of spying on the British for Spain. There have been many ways one can obtain the death penalty; they range from murder to serious burglary charges.
The lethal injection for the death penalty started in the United States in the 1930’s, for over seventy years we have used capital punishment in different ways to punish individuals who have committed a crime. After committing adultery, people were punished as they were made to wear the letter “A” before being hung. Public hangings were a particular method used in the West. They were started by gathering the townspeople to watch. They were public because they thought it would be a good lesson taught for children and residents. Nathan Hale, a Continental Army soldier, was hung in 1776 for being a confirmed spy. About to proceed with the execution Hale said “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Not long after this time, the question is it just or unjust, has been continually debated.
The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: “. . . . . nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Many opinions are swarming around this topic. Turning back to the time the Constitution was made, what was their definition of cruel and unusual punishment? In the past, cruel and unusual punishment was seemed too broad to define. With today’s modern technology, we seem to be overcoming the term cruel and unusual punishment. The Lethal injection is the primary method of executing an inmate. Out of the 38 states that use the death penalty, only one refuses to use the lethal injection (Sergo). The United States was the first country to use the lethal injection as a way to kill criminals. The lethal injection process was replaced by many states and only a small number of countries carried out with the process including China. It did replace gas chambers, electric chair and hanging which was a common method to execute criminals in the United States. Lethal injection today seems less painful than being put in a room of gas or hanging by the neck. The subject remains discussed about throughout the United States but cruel and unusual punishment seems to not be the only problem (History Death Penalty).
Cost also has to be considered in this debate.In recent surveys showed, it cost more to keep someone in prison for life than to execute them. The state government is spending 50 billion dollars a year to keep prisoners incarcerated not including the 5 billion spent by the federal government (Aizenman). Over 2.2 million people in the United States are in prison. This number includes both State and Federal prisons (Common Dreams). Of the 2.2 million, over 1.5 million inmates sentenced for long term sentencing. This leaves The United States number one in top percentage and number of prisoners.
To counter act this cost, the Supreme Court is giving judges room to move around required laws so give the criminal a leeway to not have to spend so much money for the death penalty. The state of Texas is doing what they can to go around the death penalty so the cost is less for them. One of the largest prison populations is currently the State of Texas. The average cost in Texas in 2005, to imprison one person was about $23,867 a year. Each state varies in its amount. Yet for this research we will study on the State of Texas. Taxpayers are spending less…