Argumentative Essay Against the Death Penalty

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Middlebury College
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Capital punishment has been used for many years as a way of punishing the guilty. However, there are doubts that it is indeed an effective way of punishing criminals or deterring further crime. Capital punishment, however, has over the years cost the justice system millions of dollars. In addition to the costs incurred in implementing the death penalty, it also violates the Human Rights Bill, and in some occasions, it can punish innocent individuals (Dan n.p). For this reason, in my opinion, the death penalty is not effective in the quest of reducing crime in our society. In essence, the society is not safer, and the death penalty does not work effectively in deterring people from breaking the law. In essence, various ways exist that can be used instead of the capital punishment in fighting crime, but the death penalty, in my opinion, is not one of them. In essence, the length of stay on death row, which is characterized by endless appeals, technicalities, retrials, and appeals keeps a person waiting for death for years on end, which is very costly and cruel at the same time. As such, capital punishments are characterized by inefficiencies, caused by the bouncing back and forth of the court cases between federal and state courts. Besides, making the death row inmate wait for death for so long is cruel and inhumane.

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The first argument is that the death penalty is supposed to prevent others from killing, but in the real sense, it does not deter this kind of crime. For instance, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which is a top criminological research organization, 88% of the experts rejected the assertion that death penalty acts as an effective deterrent to murder (Dan n.p). As such, fear of death penalty has little effect on individuals committing murder. In most instances, a murder starts as an argument that has gone bad, particularly when a person becomes angry. Essentially the average person does not wake up and just say that they will commit murder. Therefore, no one makes committing homicide a priority upon leaving the house. For this reason, it never crosses ones mind that if they kill they will eventually get a death penalty. People are still killing and capital punishment has not slowed down murder cases in the US. It can, therefore, be derived that if the death penalty is sending a deterrence message, then no one is listening.

Secondly, there is a possibility of error when sentencing a person to the death penalty (Amnesty International n.p). There are some instances that the person is innocent. In such an instance, the blame goes to the court system, not the death penalty. Also, most of the activities humans undertake there is always a possibility of death or injury. In essence, sports, construction, air travel, or even driving all offers the chance of accidental death even when the necessary precautions have been taken. However, these activities continue to occur, because we have all decided that as a society, the advantages of these aspects of human life far outweigh the unintended losses. In the case of murderers in the society, we have decided that it is more advantageous to remove dangerous murderers from the society because the advantages outweigh the culminating losses of the offender. Death penalty cannot be justified because a person may be innocent when committing murder, and they in most occasions not intended to do so. Ruling capital punishment for innocent people is not fair. As per the Death Penalty Information Center, since 1973, there were over 130 people released from death row having been ruled as innocent (Caplan n.p). Further, between 2000 and 2007, there have been five exonerations annually. For this reason, people on death row might be innocent. The problem is that innocent people are being killed. The system makes mistakes and does not always find the evidence when convicting people. Also, many suspected criminals spent many years in prison for a crime they did not commit. For this reason, there is no justice for them and their families. Furthermore, the justice system does not question how many people not guilty have died. In my opinion, even though they are guilty, we can punish them using other ways other than the death penalty.

In addition, capital punishment is unfair in its administration. In essence, statistics reveal that the minorities and the poor are more likely to receive a death penalty. In essence, if they commit a crime that can be punished with the death penalty, they usually do not access the best lawyers, and thus, they are more likely to face the death penalty. The rich get off with a lesser sentenced, and this is attributed to bias, which is wrong. Even so, this is a problem of the court system where economic and racial bias is not valid arguments which can be used against the death penalty. For this reason, capital punishment should be abolished, and more effective way of punishing offenders adopted, which will deter further crime including life imprisonment.

Capital punishment usually goes against the Human Rights Bill. In essence, the United Nations in December 10, 1948, adopted the bill, and its Article 5 clearly states that no one should be subjected to degrading, inhuman, and cruel punishment or torture (Amnesty International n.p). The death penalty is cruel and heartless to humans. In many occasions, people say that they should not kill, but we are doing the same thing to inmates. The type of executions conducted for death row inmates is merciless. For this reason, capital punishment should be abolished. Besides, many criminals reform while at the prison, and thus, capital punishment is no necessary. Even though criminals have committed unspeakable crimes, it cannot be justified by taking their lives.

Most of the people who support the death penalty argue that they only execute only guilty people, but as highlighted earlier, innocents might also be convicted and face the death penalty even though they never committed the crime (Dan n.p). However, retribution for a crime means that the justice system gets even for the crime committed. Taking the life of a person, even whether they committed murder, is not justifiable because we are doing the same crime. In essence, killing the criminal does not mean that the victim will be brought back to life, and thus, capital punishment is not justifiable by any means. Besides, civilized nations have banned the death sentence, including 18 U.S. states. For this reason, it can be recommended that better ways of dealing with criminals should be enacted primarily because capital punishment is not an effective deterrence to fighting crime in the society.

Works cited

Amnesty International. 5 reasons to abolish the death penalty 30 September 2016. Web. 3 April 2017.

Brook, Dan. Kill the Death Penalty: 10 Arguments Against Capital Punishment July 15 2014. Web. 3 April 2017.

Caplan Lincoln. A strong argument against capital punishment. August 14 2015. Web. 3 April 2017.

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