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Ban the Death Penalty

By: Joe Suszczynski

Capital punishment has always been one way with dealing with violent criminals. Sure, they have killed people to receive such a punishment, but is it right to carry out the punishment given? No. The death penalty in the United States should be prohibited in all cases.

There is no point in discussing the morality of the death penalty because it can be debated until the end of time.

Facts are the only way to determine whether or not capital punishment should be abolished in America.

It costs a lot of money to put a prisoner to death. The Death Penalty Information Center says the cost of the death penalty is more than a life sentence in some states. In California, for instance, the death penalty costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the cost of keeping convicts locked up for life. In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone at the highest security level for 40 years.

The reasons for the expenses are the pre-trial costs, jury selection, the trial itself and the appeals. America isn’t in the best financial shape to be putting people to death – which also can clog the system.

Supporters of the death penalty say it deters crime. But sadly that’s not the case. The DPIC stated in 2012 that the average murder rate in states that allow the death penalty was 4.7 per 100,000 people, while states without a death penalty were 3.7. Granted, other variables can be equated to why the murder rate is lower in non-death penalty states, but the numbers show that the death penalty will not deter crime in states where capital punishment is permitted.

We also know that innocent people have ended up on death row. The justice system was created by, and is made up of human beings, and humans make errors. According to the DPIC, since 1973 144 people were exonerated for crimes they did not commit; 144 people that would have been put to death had it not have been for new technologies such as DNA testing, which could prove the innocence of a person. Who knows how many more innocent prisoners are on death row that are close to being executed for crimes they did not commit—only time will tell.

The death penalty is something that needs to be abolished in America. It costs way too much to execute a person. It really does not deter crime, otherwise the murder rates in states that have the death penalty would be zero, and the murder rates in non-death penalty states would be skyrocketing. With new forms of DNA testing, there is that chance to not only release innocent prisoners from not only prison itself, but also from death row. Connecticut is one of the 18 states that banned the death penalty, while the other 32 still have it in place.

I am not saying that the law should be easy on murderers. People who commit heinous crimes should be locked away for the rest of their lives with no chance for parole if their crimes are that reprehensible.

If the human race still finds the “eye for an eye” principle acceptable when dealing with murderers, then we cannot move forward as a species.

Society has to be better than the individual.