Death Penalty

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The Death Penalty
Haylen Carlisle
Poland Seminary High School

Author Note
This paper was prepared for Government, Period 1, taught by Mr. Skinner. Abstract
Capital punishment is the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime. The legal killing of people convicted of crime is morally unjust and wrong. The use of the death penalty does not, in actuality, deter crimes being committed. There are innocent people being put to death which cannot be taken back once proven innocent. Life in prison is more cost effective than putting people to death. The victims and victim’s families are not always going to feel better after the death of the convicted.

Should the Death Penalty be Illegal?
Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the execution of a person as punishment for a crime against the state. Crimes for which one is sentenced to die are often referred to as capital offenses (“Capital Punishment”). It is important to know the facts about the death penalty to understand why the death penalty should be illegal. It is morally wrong and not the right way to handle someone’s punishment. This paper will answer the questions: Is the death penalty a morally just way of handling criminals? Is the death penalty a real crime deterrent? Are there cases in which innocent people are being sentenced to death, a punishment which clearly cannot be taken back? Is life in prison more cost effective than the use of the death penalty? Will the victim and/or victim’s family really be gaining anything more from the death of the convicted? The death penalty is not the best way to punish the convicted and that it is an inhumane and cost prohibitive method of punishment and should be illegal.

Is the death penalty a morally just way of handling criminals? It all depends on a person’s personality and set of morals. Does one believe that punishing someone convicted of a crime by killing them is right? I don’t believe that taking someone’s life for a punishment is something I could do and sleep well at night. By seeking vengeance on criminals and disguising it as justice, the government becomes complicit with killers and devalues human life and dignity (Cuomo, 2013). Allowing our government to kill citizens compromises the deepest moral values upon which this country was conceived: the inviolable dignity of human persons (Leone, 1997). No one has the right to decide whether another human being deserves to live or die; that’s why killing is illegal. So why does a jury get to decide the exact same thing a murderer decided when they kill. Along with these things it is also inhumane and there are cases in which the execution goes wrong. March 10, 1992: two minutes after the drugs were administered; the muscles in Robyn Lee Parks jaw, neck, and abdomen began to react spasmodically for approximately forty-five seconds. Parks continued to gasp and violently gag until he died, eleven minutes after the drugs were administered (Leone, 1997). The death penalty isn’t right and shouldn’t be legal; no one should hold the power to take another person’s life.

Is the death penalty a real crime deterrent? According to the report, some academic studies have purported to find such a deterrent impact. The story cited a 2003 Emory University study which concluded that each execution deters an average of 18 murders. To read the story, one might believe that new life has been pumped into what had largely been a settled argument. A closer look at the facts, however, reveals that there was very little to the story. The truth is that leading academics have roundly rejected these studies. A rigorous 2006 study conducted by John Donohue of Yale Law School and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and Justin Wolfers of the Wharton School of Business and NBER analyzed the same data used in the Emory study and like studies and debunked their conclusions in striking terms: "The view that the death penalty deters is...
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