Against Capital Punishment Essay

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There is a serious controversy when it comes to capital punishment. A question is raised as to whether the death penalty should be abolished or upheld. Capital punishment creates psychological damage to many of those involved, costs much more than keeping an inmate in prison for life, and ultimately is morally reasonable. I would like to argue that it is not economic, moral, or effective to justify the death penalty.

Though it may seem improbable, keeping someone in prison for life costs millions less than the death penalty. Jacob Hancock of Deseret News comments, “To try, house and execute an offender costs as much as three times what it costs to house an offender for an average life term.” When it is a person’s life that is at hand, the consequences of error resulting in a failed trial are amplified. Because of the magnitude the determination holds, courts must impose severe process protections that cause death penalty prosecutions to cost much more. Trial cases dealing with the death penalty involve a slew of pretrial proposals, supplemental investigation costs and an intensive jury selection process. Overt amounts of money, on average $4.2 million, are being spent on these processes of which many have no productive outcome. For example, in 2008, thirty-five states in the U.S. housed 3,307 death row inmates of which only 37 were executed (Death Penalty Information Center). In consideration of the fact that most death row trials do not get carried out – meaning the inmate is never executed – having an inmate on death row cannot be economically justifiable.

Not only is capital punishment economically unjustifiable, it is without a doubt morally unjustifiable as well. There is the underlying question of why it is morally sound to give a jury the right to decide if a murderer lives or dies to prove that murder is wrong. This ethical decision is given to many parties involved.

The ethical and moral decision a prison physician makes to execute offenders or...
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