Affects of Capital Punishment on Society

Topics: Death Penalty, Lethal injection, Murder Pages: 8 (3007 words) Published: May 14, 2013
Capital Punishment is Bad For Society
" To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice" ( qtd. in Anti-Death Penalty). Capital punishment, or the death penalty, has been around in some sort of variation for centuries. It is enforced upon criminals who have been convicted of the most heinous crimes, such as homicide. There have been debates throughout time as whether or not the death penalty is appropriate punishment. Valid arguments of support and contradiction of capital punishment have come up over time, making citizens believe it is a tough decision for lawmakers to choose whether or not to allow the death penalty. The decision is simple. Capital Punishment should be abolished throughout the country because it is an unfair and unnecessary way of castigation that contains many flaws and serves no justice for those involved.

Executions have been held in the United States as far back as history recognizes. Beginning in 1976, states have begun to come to their senses and finally abolish the death penalty. The number of American civilians who oppose the death penalty have also more than double since then, showing that more than one-third of the population now oppose capital punishment ( 2001Jost 948). Since 1976, more that 1,000 executions have occurred in the United States. Between the thirty-eight states that approve of the death penalty, and the thirty-two that have used in since 1976, there are five different execution methods that are available, each having their disadvantages ( Friedman 85).

The first of these execution styles is death by hanging. Until the late 1800's, this type of murder was the primary execution type in the united states. Many states have since stopped hangings, but it has not been gotten rid of completely. Currently, it is still used in Delaware, Washington, and New Hampshire. The last record execution hanging dates back to January 25, 1996 in Delaware, when Billie Bailey was hung for being convicted of the murder of an elderly couple. Hanging is just one of the several disturbing ways in which "justice" is served in America ( Friedman 74).

Another way of performing the death penalty is by the use of lethal gas. It is arguably the least violent of execution methods, and it does not mar, or disfigure, the body. There is little pain involved, and it takes minimal time to perform. Several states use this type of execution, including California, Maryland, Mississippi, and Wyoming. The latest recorded execution by lethal gas was in 1999 in Arizona ( Friedman 74). If there were such a thing as the "best" execution method, this would be the one.

The rarest of type of performing capital punishment is by the use of a firing squad. First, the convicted is led into an execution room where he will sit upon a blood absorbing chair. He is placed before five gunmen, holding four bullet guns and a blank, so that the killers would not be identified. After being covered with a black hood, members of the firing squad aim for the heart, instantly killing the criminal. The latest firing squad execution was in January of 1996, when John Albert Taylor of Utah was sentenced to the death penalty. Death by firing squad is very uncommon and is used only upon an inmate's request ( Friedman 74).

The most currently used method of capital punishment is lethal injection. The performance consists of three drugs entering the bloodstream. They include sodium pentothal, which knocks out the person, pancuronium bromide, which causes widespread paralysis, and lastly, potassium chloride, which induces a heart attack, killing the convicted criminal. Death penalty supporters believe this type of injection is the most humane, because it is said that once the first drug enters the bloodstream, that the victim drifts off to sleep and feels no pain. However, there is no proof backing this theory up, and taking into the consideration of the strength of potassium chloride, it is nearly...
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