Death Penalty Essay

Words: 1006
Pages: 5

Life in Prison without Parole

The death penalty is a subject that has been on debate for many years now. In the United States, seventeen of the fifty states have abolished the use of the death penalty. Each state has its own legislation that is in charge of whether they use the death penalty, what cases can get the death penalty, and how and when it is followed through (ProCon, 2011). All state governments should abolish the death penalty and use the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole because the cost of the trial and execution are more costly, there will be less chances of an innocent person being put to death and it will allow the perpetrator to suffer for what they did wrong. The cost of the trial and execution for a death penalty case are substantially higher than that of a trial with the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The reason the costs are higher is because it takes more time and effort to make sure there are no mistakes and that the trial is fair because a person’s life is in jeopardy. Studies that were done in all the states over 25 years show that it costs millions of dollars more for the death penalty than for life in prison. In New Jersey and Kansas it cost a little more than $4 million more per death sentence (Dillapiana, 2009). Then there are millions of dollars spent keeping the perpetrator in prison for years before the execution is actually followed through with. Many of them are in prison for 10-25 years before being executed. Some of the men and women on death row actually die of natural causes while waiting to be executed. As in any case, there is the chance that the perpetrator is wrongly convicted. Aside from the extra time and money spent on appeals and other processes that are in place to make sure there are no mistakes in the death penalty cases, there are still innocent people being convicted and sentenced to die. Since 1973, 140 people in 26 states have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. There are a number of reasons for wrongful convictions and many cases include more than one reason. The Center on Wrongful Convictions did an analysis on 86 cases of death row exonerees and the number one reason for wrongful conviction was eyewitness error. There were also 17 cases that included misconduct by the police and the prosecution. Some of the other reasons were hearsay, questionable circumstantial evidence, mishandled evidence or the use of experts that were not qualified, testimony that was given in exchange for a reduction in sentence and false confessions were a result of mental handicap or police torture (Death Penalty Information Center, 2012) If that is not enough, there is evidence that eight people have been found innocent after being put to death (Naked Law, 2010). Those few are just the ones that are known of because once an inmate is put to death there is not much reason to investigate whether they were innocent or not because their death cannot be undone. Having said all of that, life in prison without the possibility of parole is a more suitable punishment. When perpetrators spend the rest of their life in prison, it is a long time for them to continually think about the crime they committed and why they are there. Actually, when a person is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole it is still a death sentence just that they are sentenced to die in prison of natural causes instead of being executed and knowing for sure when they will die. The prisoners who are condemned to die in prison are not treated very well and spend most of their time in their cell. They do not get adequate health care and spending life in prison is not a good