Term Paper

Submitted By pitssteelers
Words: 2127
Pages: 9

Capital Punishment Why does society kill to show that killing is wrong? It has a long history. Capital punishment has been around for centuries and is still used today. Though many people see capital punishment as a justifiable way to prosecute criminals, capital punishment is actually a very expensive, cruel and unusual, and an unreliable process that the United States needs to ban. People are mistaken when they think that executing a prisoner is less expensive than incarceration; in fact, the cost of capital punishment greatly outweighs the cost of keeping an inmate incarcerated for life. In addition, the cost of capital punishment has been increasing since the 1970s. In 1972, it was much more expensive to gather evidence to support the innocence or the guilt of the accused in a death sentence trial rather than a life sentence trial (“Capital Punishment”). Also during this time, all death sentences had to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. This would usually cost up to $70,000 and in some cases, if the case went any further, the process could reach up to $275,000 or more (“Capital Punishment”). Furthermore, as the years passed, a study at Duke University presented data that showed that North Carolina alone spent over one billion dollars on executions between 1976 and 1992 (“Capital Punishment”). This amount of money is not much if compared to today’s total amount of money spent but in the 1970s, it was considered a large amount. Therefore, it must be taken into consideration that in the past, everything cost less because the United States did not own as much money as it does today. Currently, the cost of capital punishment is still increasing. In 2002, the Indiana Criminal Law Study Commission said that it costs states thirty-eight percent more money for executions than it does for keeping an inmate incarcerated for life (“Capital Punishment). Moreover, an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that “the death penalty has consumed $10 million in the past seven years (“Death Penalty Information Center”). So, why does it cost so much more to keep an inmate incarcerated? Well, probably because being sentenced to death is a very serious issue. A lot of money is spent so that the court can be one-hundred percent sure that the accused truly is proven guilty. Because of this, taxpayers are spending over $10 million on death penalty cases (“Death Penalty Information Center”). For this reason, it makes much more sense to abolish capital punishment and to protect the innocence from being being harmed, that way the United States can save more money. In addition to its cost, capital punishment is cruel and unusual. Executions can be done in 5 ways: the gas chamber, hanging, firing squad, electrocution, or lethal injection (Capital Punishment- Cruel and Unusual”). These methods are all currently used depending on the state. If a prisoner selects the gas chamber, he or she is told to breathe deeply, which is that last thing they usually do. Clifton Duffy, a former penitentiary warden observed a gas chamber execution and reported “At first there is evidence of extreme horror, pain, and strangling. The eyes pop. The skin turns purple and the victim begins to drool” (Description of Execution Methods”). A man Carly Chessman was executed by the gas chamber and before he died, he told reporters that he would nod his head if it hurt. After the gas entered the chamber, the reporters reported that Chessman nodded his head for several minutes (“Description of Execution Methods”). When a prisoner is executed by hanging, he or she is blindfolded with their hands and legs tied together and a noose put around their neck. After that, a trap door below the prisoner’s feet is opened and he or she falls through (“Description of Execution Methods”). What is supposed to happen next is that the prisoners neck should break, causing instant death; but most of the