Everyone has his or her own opinion of capital punishment—the death penalty. Currently, 32/50 (64%) States has its own form of the death penalty. Thus, only 18/50 (36%) has laws against or has totally abolished capital punishment. Along with the majority crown, the U.S. Government, and the U.S. Military employs the death penalty as well. One thing is for certain, the U.S. is obviously split on which way to go; this is not a 50/50 split, however a 64/36 split is close enough. Let's look at the pros and cons of capital punishment.
Some of the pros include, but are not limited to:
- Deterrent to heinous crime
- Cost of life in prison
This list could go on an on. To highlight some of the above reasons, people and states that are for the death penalty cite that capital punishment is a very good deterrent to crimes—criminals may think twice before committing crimes if the punishment could be the death penalty. Also, our morality tells us to be fair and just—essentially "an eye for an eye." Additionally, our Constitution says nothing about the validity of the death penalty. Yes, there is the Eighth Amendment—cruel and unusual punishment—however the U.S. Supreme Court has never once, in a majority decision, reasoned that the death penalty is unconstitutional. Lastly, proponents of the death penalty point to how much money it costs tax payers to keep a prisoner alive throughout his or her life.
Some of the cons include, but are not limited to:
- No Appellate Process
The list could go on and on as well. Morality is a double-edged sword because like the death penalty, people have varying degrees and types of moral values. If we kill (even for a good cause), it is still killing. Is that an oxymoron—killing for a good cause? Additionally, do we as a society need something such as retribution? If we kill someone who killed, are we not continuing the vicious circle that the killer started? Furthermore, even though the Constitution and case law do not include the death penalty in the Eighth Amendment, killing someone is the worst and most severe punishment of all. To these people who oppose the death penalty, even the most cruel and inhumane people on this earth—people who rape and murder—deserve to be treated like humans. Lastly, and one of the best arguments against capital punishment is when someone dies, he or she is gone forever, and there is no coming back. With all of the new DNA testing and technological enhancements in the field of criminology, death row inmates are being freed because of wrongful convictions. Bottom line, we as a society would rather wrongly convict a guilty man rather than wrongly convict an innocent man.
There are many pros and cons to the death penalty, and everyone's opinion is valuable and worthwhile. Which side do you agree with?
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