Argument Against the Death Penalty
Argument Essay for the Death Penalty Every day through media streams, we hear news about murders, homicides, and killing.It is hard to spend a day without hearing about these things nowadays.We have our own right to our own lives, but that doesn’t mean we have rights to the person sitting next to us or anyone else.
I’ve studied on this topic for almost a year now and I know main issues related to this topic and a few important historical movements related to the death penalty.
In the past few years, the death penalty was a controversial issue in many pro death penalty nations like the United States, China, Iran and many more. Since 1990, more than thirty countries abolished the death penalty because it was considered immoral (www. deathpenaltyinfo. com). Supporters of the death penalty consider killing the person who killed others people and that supports why the death penalty is immoral in many ways. First, it violates religious views and beliefs, innocent people get wrongly accused and mostly executed, costs way too much money, and lastly it is not how we deal with crimes.
California and Oklahoma were two states involved in the death penalty survey proving that it has reduced crime rate or not (Gorecki). The survey proved to be negative showing that the death penalty actually had increased crime rate rather than decreasing it (Gorecki). Professor Craig Haney of University of California at Santa Cruz conducted the survey on 800 citizens of Santa Cruz, they were chosen randomly by their social security numbers (Gorecki). Professor Haney conducted this same kind of survey back in 1989 when he received strong favor of the death penalty (Gorecki).
In 1989, 74% of 800 citizens favored the death penalty, but in 2009, those numbers fell drastically to 44% (www. deathpenaltyinfo. com). The Supreme Court cases Ballard v. Florida, Thibodeaux v. Louisiana are some of the many recent cases of innocent execution that took place in less than a decade (www. deathpenaltyinfo. com). There are many other reasons that I will present later in this essay to prove that the death penalty is not a rightful way to punish a criminal (Schabas). To abolish the death penalty, we should replace it with life imprisonment without parole.
Doing so will save us money and maybe increase budgets for things that communities require, it could save the lives of innocents from dying, no more violation of the Eighth Amendment and human morals, and no evidence that it deters crime rate. First, Innocent people are getting executed ever since the death penalty has been around. The death penalty has claimed lives of 141 innocent citizens since 1973-today with little over half being black and the other half are whites and other races (www. deathpenaltyinfo. com). The Innocence protection Act became a law in 2004 (Ross).
Law had a huge effect on innocent executions because the law forced the Supreme Court to test the DNA of an inmate and match it with the sample found at the crime scene (Guernesey). Act also started charging money to the United States prisons for every wrong conviction made since the effect of the law (Guernesey). Innocent convictions were also caused by racism, bribing, eyewitness error, snitch, government misconduct, and false confessions. To stop innocent executions we should appeal to the courts to allow two different lawyers to have a look in at the same case for errors that could have been missed by one.
Judges should not go straight on conclusion, but ask if anyone on both sides have a lingering doubt they might want to clear, and Secondly, the death penalty costs up to $117 million for up to four executions per year (Costanzo). Estimated cost for keeping an inmate in a cell until the execution date average around $90,000 – $95,000 (Costanzo). State of California itself has held 1940 executions since 1978 up until 2009; estimated total cost for 1940 execution was around $4 billion (www. deathpenaltyinfo. com). In comparison to the death penalty cases, life imprisonment cases cost 4 times less (Costanzo).
The United States can save up to $12 million per year if the death penalty gets replaced by life imprisonment without parole (Costanzo). The American Civil Liberties Union reviewed the statistics on taxpayers’ money and concluded that, approximately $90 million goes towards the death penalty executions (Costanzo). Capital trails costs up to $11 million per execution comparing to $4 million for life imprisonment (www. deathpenaltyinfo. com). Almost everyone in the United States, whether they’re against the death penalty or not, complains about current condition of the US economy not being very good.
Due to that fact, we should replace the death penalty with life imprisonment; this could save money for infrastructures, schools, colleges and health care and increase their yearly budgets. Biases also play a big role in determining who will and who will not get executed (Ross). Types of biases that I’m referring to are racial bias and class bias, and political bias (Ross). According to NAACP (National Association of the Advancement of Colored People), out of 40 percent of inmates on death row, 12 percent accused inmates are penalized due to the racial bias in their case (Winters147).
Another study was conducted by NAACP, informing us that killers of whites are more likely to get executed than the killers of black (Ross). To avoid racial bias effecting capital punishment decisions, U. S. Senate suggested a Racial Justice Act, an act that outlawed any case that was suspected and held under racial discrimination, but it was consistently defeated (Bohm). Class biases are much more common than racial bias, class biases occurs when a lower class person gets accused and doesn’t have enough wealth to hire a good defense lawyer (Haag 167).
Protagonist side would argue that the death penalty cause deterrence in crime rates, DNA Testing saved many innocent victims, even bible supported the death penalty, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6) and life imprisonment keep the fear alive inside victims’ family. The American Civil Liberties Union collected some data on crime rates over the past few years and concluded that, the pro death penalty states had higher crime by up to 46 percent than the states without the death penalty (www. aclu. org).
Statistics showed that, Eventhough, crime rates in the pro death penalty states has decreased, crime rates in states without the death penalty had also decreased. In 2011, 11,221 people were killed in thirty-four pro death penalty states, whereas only 6,395 people were killed in sixteen anti-death penalty states (www. deathpenaltyinfo. com). DNA testing was first used in 1990s, but massive effect of that system took place in the September 2011 when it saved 273 lives of innocents that were once announced guilty (www. aclu. org). DNA system saved 75 percent of innocent convictions in past few years, but what about rest 25 percent (www. clu. org)? Now this could be where the class biases come in, rich people could force to not have DNA testing conducted with the power of their money, or poor people could not afford a tests like these once they started paying lawyer fees (www. aclu. org). Pro-death penalty people would also argue that if the death penalty is replaced with life imprisonment without parole, it would keep the fear of criminal being alive inside them. But think about other side effects the death penalty is having on the society, the death penalty is doing nothing but executing.
As mentioned earlier in the essay, the death penalty does not deter crime rate, it kills innocent people, and it costs 4 times more than life imprisonment (Costanzo). The life imprisonment could save lives of many innocent people who would have been executed by the death penalty. Exactly what people are worried about are inmates escaping the prisons, but there are low chances of escaping, because according to the Bureau of Justice Department, in 2006, inmates escape rate was 3 percent for every 2 million inmates (www. bjs. ov). In 2011, numbers are around 1. 3 percent per 2 million inmates (www. bjs. gov). I am sure that if everyone knew all facts related to the death penalty, they would have never stood by it and it is not late to be so yet. By looking at the both sides carefully and patiently, I think we should replace death penalty with life imprisonment, because death penalty has many bad effects like high costs, innocent executions, different types of biases effecting final judgment, violation of the eighth amendment and human morals.
Whereas, life imprisonment 4 times less than the death penalty, and innocent people have a chance to be free if they are proven not guilty. It is not our job to take revenge on people, listen to the word of creator, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath”, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay”. Work Cited Bohm, Robert M. Ultimate Sanction: Understanding the Death Penalty through Its Many Voices and Many Sides. New York: Kaplan Pub. , 2010. Print. 13 Feb. 2013
Costanzo, Mark: Just revenge: costs and consequences of the death penalty; St. Martin’s Press, New York, Academic Search Complete, 1997. Print. 18 January 2013. Gorecki, Jan. Capital Punishment: Crimial Law and Social Evolution. New York: Columbia UP, Academic Search Complete, 2000. Print. 22 January 2013. Guernsey, JoAnn Bren. The Death Penalty: Fair Solution or Moral Failure? Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century, 2010. Print. 22 February 2013. Schabas, William. The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law. Cambridge, U. K. Cambridge UP, Academic Search Complte 1997. Print. 11 February 2013. Winters, Paul A. The Death Penalty: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, Academic Search Complete 1997. Print. 20 February 2013. United States. Bureau Of Justice. US Department of Justice. Prisoners in 2011. By Ann E. Carson and William J. Sabol. N. p. , Dec. 2012. Web. 9 Apr. 2013. Cooper, David. “Deterrence: States Without the Death Penalty Have Had Consistently Lower Murder Rates. ” Death Penalty Information Center. N. p. , n. d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://www. deathpenaltyinfo. org >.