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Is the Death penalty the right Punishment for Murder?

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jennifer Rivas / for lincoln lion tales

jennifer Rivas / for lincoln lion tales

jennifer Rivas / for lincoln lion tales

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The sun is about rise on a beautiful Tuesday morning of 1992 but this is the last time Robert Alten will be able to see it. Making his way into his final moments alive before being executed by gas chamber at the San Quentin State prison, he decides to make his last meal, two pizzas,a bucket of chicken and some Ice cream, after serving 13 years on death row. His moment finally came at 6am on that fateful day. According to Warden Daniel Vasquez, Robert’s last words were: “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the grim reaper”. He was just 39 at the time of his death making him one of the youngest executed at that time in the state of California. His death was one of the most talked about in the history of the death penalty. So what is capital punishment and why is it such a controversial issue especially in the U.S? Two of the main ways to be executed are by lethal injection or gas chamber which was last used in 2010 on Walter LeGrand. This causes a big controversy because, according to Thoughtco, a prisoner gets executed about every 10 days in the U.S.

 

For one thing, many people believe that the death penalty should be abolished because the justice system is bound to make mistakes. The analysis of a research done by Common Dreams shows that 4.1% of people on death row since 1973 are not guilty.This is why most people believe that  life imprisonment is a better punishment because people who are wrongly imprisoned can be released from prison and given compensation but a wrongful execution can never righted.

 

What is widely unknown by the public is just how expensive the death penalty is. The cost of the death penalty, according to deathpenaltyinfo.org, “(…) cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population.” These numbers are staggering, especially since it cost less to maintain an inmate than it is to put them up to die for their crimes.

 

After seeing the rejection death penalty faces, you may ask yourself “Is capital punishment even effective in the United States ?”. As a matter of fact, there has been many positive outcomes. According to pew research, “as of 2012, the most recent year available, the overall violent-crime rate had fallen to 386.9 reported crimes per 100,000, the lowest rate in more than four decades”. In other words, the crimes in the United States drastically faded away throughout the years, and the death penalty was 4.7 per 100,000. Adding on, in the 1960’s capital punishment was abolished and therefore there was a 7% crime rate increase on those several years. Also, “death penalty” is reserved for crimes that are so wrong that they demand strict punishments.

 

Death penalty is not as bad as most people try to make it look like. For example, people say that the most executed people are blacks ,which is not true. According to death penalty information center, the racial breakdown of those executed since 1976 is; 75.6% white, 15.3% black,6.9% latino and 2.1% others. The statistics show that people who accuse death penalty of targeting people of color are just not informative and  don’t have the proof to back up their claim. Also, the race of defendants executed since 1976 is; 55.6% white, 34.5% black, 8.3% latino and 1.6% other.

 

The topic of the right punishment for murder will always be controversial. Even religious communities do not with each other on the use of death penalty as capital punishment. Some of them say that it disobeys the most important commandment in the bible while others say that since it was established in the bible, they totally accept it. But the one thing everyone can agree on is that any person who takes the life of an innocent victim must be made to pay their debt to society.

 

Sources:

BBC. “Ethics – Capital Punishment: Arguments in Favour of Capital Punishment.” BBC, BBC, 2014, www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/capitalpunishment/for_1.shtml.

 

Brook, Dan. “Kill the Death Penalty: 10 Arguments Against Capital Punishment.” Common Dreams, 15 July 2014, www.commondreams.org/views/2014/07/15/kill-death-penalty-10-arguments-against-capital-punishment.

 

DPIC. “Costs of the Death Penalty.” Costs of the Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center, Oct. 2009, deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty.

 

Gill, Kathy. “The Death Penalty: Theories of Deterrence & Retribution.” ThoughtCo, 13 May 2017, www.thoughtco.com/pros-cons-capital-punishment-3367815.                  

 

Goodman, Paul. “Death Penalty Pros and Cons.” Soapboxie, 2017, www.soapboxie.com/government/Death-Penalty-Pros-and-Cons.

Journal, MICHAEL HEWLETT Winston-Salem. “Death Penalty Ineffective, Too Expensive, New Study Says.” Winston-Salem Journal, 19 Apr. 2011, www.journalnow.com/news/local/death-penalty-ineffective-too-expensive-new-study-says/article_f9a85245-f6cf-5e02-8ba0-e3ca079b6526.html.    

 

Muller, Robert T. “Death Penalty May Not Bring Peace to Victims’ Families.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 19 Oct. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/talking-about-trauma/201610/death-penalty-may-not-bring-peace-victims-families.    

 

Museum, Crime. “Punishment for Murder.” Crime Museum, 2017, www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/execution/punishment-for-murder/.          

 

procon.org. “Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?” Deathpenalty.procon.org, 9 Dec. 2016, deathpenalty.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002000.

 

“What Is the Death Penalty and Capital Punishment? – Death Penalty – ProCon.org.” Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?, 20 May 2008, deathpenalty.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000988.

 

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Is the Death penalty the right Punishment for Murder?