Capital Punishment

Britney Chong

The Controversial Issue

Capital punishment is not the lightest topic to be talking about but it has to be discussed. The death penalty has been an issue for quite awhile now, and there are many debates going around arguing whether or not the death penalty should be legal or not in the states. Currently, over 30 states in the US have legalized the death penalty and some have even legalized execution by firing squad. Putting a criminal to justice is what should be done, but is it moral to kill them? The death penalty may seem like the perfect punishment to some but it is actually doing more harm than it is actually helping our country.


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The Death Penalty is Cruel and Unjust (Ethos, Pathos and Logos)

To say that the death penalty is cruel may seem like an invalid opinion, but execution by lethal injection is actually not all that painless, and the sensation that is felt when the deadly fluid is injected can be considered cruel and unusual punishment. According to Leonidas Koniaris, chairman of surgical oncology at the University of Miami, states that, " Is there a possibility of awareness during an execution? Is there a large degree of pain and suffering associated with it? And I think the answer we found is yes." Studies have shown that many executioners that carry the execution lack any experience with chemical drugs and that the procedure is not monitored, which can allow error in the execution, causing the inmate to experience a painful, cruel death. It is said that, without any anaesthetic or poor injection of an anaesthetic can cause the prisoner to experience a strong burning sensation throughout their body, and can last up to 10 minutes, before the prisoner is finally put to death. Furthermore, the chemicals used for lethal injection are hard to obtain now because the chemicals are manufactured in Europe and every country in Europe, except for Belarus has outlawed the death penalty and have now banned the shipment of chemicals to the US. Because of this, we have to look for substitutes that are much less effective and can prolong suffering for the prisoner, as this is cruel. For a punishment like this to exist is against the 8th amendment because it is giving cruel punishment. It can be argued that the government must be tough on crime or that the punishment is a lot less cruel than what the criminal has done and that they deserve it but, is it really justice?

Is killing another person for committing heinous crimes make us any better than them? It just doesn't seem morally acceptable to allow such a punishment to exist. You don't kill people for killing to show that killing is wrong. It just doesn't make sense. Killing someone is something that most people want to avoid to do and wanting to do it with an intent is simply not just. The only other type of people who would have the want to have someone dead would be murders and serial killers, people who kill because of selfish reasons. We don't need a punishment kills for the sake of getting revenge. In the end, the punishment doesn't do anything positive. It doesn't undo the crime that had been committed, it doesn't bring back the ones who have died at the hands of a murderer and it doesn't bring much closure to the victims and their families. Shown in the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death, hoping that it would bring closure to the families who lost someone or were injured. But instead, a poll showed that only 15% of people wanted Tsarnaev to recieve capital punishment. Victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing, Bill and Denise Richard who lost their 8 year-old son stated that they did not want Tsarnaev to be sentence to death, because they did not want to deal with the lengthy appeals later. In addition, a study was conducted that involved 2 in-depth interviews with people who has lost a loved one to crime. There were people from Texas, where they had their murderers sentenced to death and the others lived in Minnesota, where their murderers were sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. After a few years, it was shown that the people from Minnesota were in better health, physically and mentally and were more satisfied with the criminal justice system than the people who were from Texas. They felt that they had the lack of control because of all the appeals tied up with the case. Not only is the death penalty cruel and unjust but endangers the innocent. Deciding who gets the death penalty is a very detailed process but even then, the justice system can still make mistakes. With more advanced technology, we have found that at least 4% of people who were sentence to the death penalty were actually innocent. It's great that were able to find the truth to some cases but it's not so great when we can't let the innocent free when they're dead. They can't go back and live their lives normal because of some stupid mistake that the court made.

It is strange that such an advanced country like the United States allow this kind of punishment towards criminal offences. It's cruel, unjust and puts the lives of the innocent in danger. Criminal Punishment is just not what we need to have justice.


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Common Myths (Logical Fallacies)

Keeping someone alive cost money while having someone dead doesn't, therefore the death penalty is cheaper than life imprisonment.

Keeping someone alive cost money because of payments for food, shelter other necessities but, life imprisonment is not more expensive than the death penalty. Actually cases that can lead to the death penalty are often way more expensive than life imprisonment, because of all the resources and time that have to spend to get the trial right, and even after all that, criminals are usually sentenced to life imprisonment without parole anyways. The reason life imprisonment is so much cheaper is because it does not require a long, lengthy trial because no one is being executed. The fact that we are still using the death penalty is a waste of tax money that could be spent on better thing like funding additional jobs for states. Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000 while cases that have the possibility in ending in a death sentence costs about $1.26 million and maintaining the inmates on death row (considered to be sentenced to death) cost taxpayers about $90,000 more per year prisoners in cases without the death penalty.

Many people are afraid of death. Capital punishment executes criminals who have committed serious crimes and therefore the death penalty works as a deterrent for crimes.

Yes, it is true that most people are afraid of death and do not want their life to end anytime soon but, most people who commit these crimes don't care about the consequences that result from their actions. These criminals commit these horrendous acts of violence usually because they are swayed by emotion. When they have the desire to kill, they don't care about anything else, and will do it regardless of later consequences. They don't stop and think, "if I kill this person, I'll get the death penalty, so I better not do it!" They really don't do any thinking at all and instead, act on their emotions. This is also especially true for criminals who are mentally ill. Someone who is mentally ill sometimes can't tell the difference between right and wrong and usually don't know or understand what they're doing. Mental illness is definitely not an excuse to commit heinous crimes but they should at least receive special treatment.

The death penalty helps regulate civilization. It is tough on crime and shows we should follow the law. Without it , the country will fall into disorder and crimes will be considered the norm. Victim's families will never be able to find peace without the death penalty.

From what it looks like, the death penalty doesn't seem to have an effect on society's norms. As it was stated earlier, the death penalty does not deter crime so it doesn't really have any control over what happens in society. Many countries have done just fine without the death penalty, and their country is not in pieces. For example, Britain had outlawed the death penalty in 1965 and are still doing much better without it today. For many families, the death penalty for their loved one's offender hasn't worked very well. The death penalty seems like a good idea for many but later on, families don't really find closure or do any better, with their offender finally dead.


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Essay on Capital Punishment

Criminals must be held liable for their crimes. No matter how serious the crime is they must receive a penalty of some sort for the system to be fair and just; however , the death penalty should not be a punishment worth considering. It may seem fundamental at first, to have this system in place but, in reality the death penalty is just not worth keeping in place. Over 140 countries have abolished capital punishment and yet, the United States is not among them and the reason why that so many countries have done this is because the death penalty is really just an unnecessary punishment that is inadequate to decreasing crime rate and is a waste of time and resources. Keeping a punishment like this in an advanced society is not only strange but also holding us back.

The death penalty fails to positively affect society and is rather useless when it comes to benefiting others. When executing someone for their crimes, nothing good really comes out of it. The criminal being dead maybe the only good that comes out of it but there’s nothing else that’s good in executing criminals. The victims of the criminal don’t come back to life nor is the crime committed undone. It only satisfies the thirst for revenge, which is not only selfish but is often disguised as justice. It may seem like justice but, killing someone because they’ve killed another really destroys the meaning of life being valuable. It may be argued that the death penalty can serve as a deterrent for crime and can have a positive impact on society by discouraging others to commit acts of violence, but their is no evidence shown that the death penalty really deters crime. Many police chiefs do not favor the death penalty because of this reason. Polls have shown that only 37% believe that the death penalty significantly reduced homicide. The reason why the death penalty has little to no influence on criminal behavior is because most criminals commit these heinous crimes is because they act on emotion rather than logic. A criminal won’t stop and think about the possible consequences that their actions may have on them later in the future. They only care to satisfy their emotional needs, and sometimes, that may lead to killing another individual. This also applies to the mentally ill, because some have a hard time telling what is right from wrong and end up making the wrong decision, without thinking about the possible consequences later on.

In addition to the death penalty being unbeneficial towards society, it also wastes a lot of time and resources. The average case that may end in a death sentence lasts about 15 years between sentencing and execution which takes up a lot of the court’s time, when they could be spending that time on many other important cases. During that time period, many people are taken in for questioning and many autopsy are done for further investigation. The reason why these trials are always very thorough and detailed is because it’s against the constitution to issue the death sentence until the case has been fully examined. It can be argued that this whole lengthy process is worth it in the end because it’s cheaper than keeping them alive in jail, but this is actually not true. Studies have shown that cases without the death penalty, including life-imprisonment without parole only cost up to $740,000 while cases with the death penalty can cost up to $1.26 million. This costs taxpayers $90,000 more than an average case without the death penalty. All this tax money is better spent elsewhere, like helping states get out of financial troubles, create jobs and improve healthcare. We end up spending so much time, resources and money just to put someone to death. Something like this shouldn’t be necessary in a society like ours.

But with the problem of the death penalty, there is a solution towards criminal who have committed some of the most unforgivable crimes and that is life-imprisonment without any chance of parole. This way, criminals are forced to work their hardest while doing something productive, and by doing this, they are also doing something to pay for their crimes instead of being dead and not benefiting the community at all. Getting rid of the death penalty and sentence criminals to life imprisonment, is also a lot cheaper too, because with life imprisonment, you can always reverse the guilty verdict if the criminal is later found innocent, whereas, if we had executed them, they would’ve died an unjust death. Many cases that involve the death penalty end up sentencing criminals to life imprisonment anyway, so really without the death penalty, no one would have to have their time wasted. But, it can be argued that there is no true justice if the criminal is still alive while the victim is dead and there is never any real closure for the family left behind, but actually it’s better that way. It’s not possible to be at peace when the criminal is finally dead , it often takes much more than that, and executing the criminal may actually negatively affect a family trying to find some closure. Studies have shown that victims survivors who lived in states where the death penalty is banned vs the survivors who live in states that the death penalty was legal, showed better mental and physical health. They also appeared more satisfied with the result of their offenders compared to the survivors who came from states that supported the death penalty.

In conclusion, the death penalty may seem like a just civil punishment when in reality, the death penalty is nonessential towards seeking justice because it fails to benefit society positively, it wastes a great deal of time, resources and money, and the best solution is to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without parole. By getting rid of the death penalty, this country will become a better one and fit the standards of what an advanced society should be like.