Should the Death Penalty Be Banned as a Form of Punishment?

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Should the death penalty be banned as a form of punishment? Yes| No|
1. Financial costs to taxpayers of capital punishment is several times that of keeping someone in prison for life. 2. It is barbaric and violates the "cruel and unusual" clause in the Bill of Rights. 3. The endless appeals and required additional procedures clog our court system. 4. We as a society have to move away from the "eye for an eye" revenge mentality if civilization is to advance. 5. It sends the wrong message: why kill people who kill people to show killing is wrong. 6. Life in prison is a worse punishment and a more effective deterrent. 7. Other countries (especially in Europe) would have a more favorable image of America. 8. Some jury members are reluctant to convict if it means putting someone to death. 9. The prisoner's family must suffer from seeing their loved one put to death by the state, as well as going through the emotionally-draining appeals process. 10. The possibility exists that innocent men and women may be put to death. 11. Mentally ill patients may be put to death. 12. It creates sympathy for the monstrous perpetrators of the crimes. 13. It is useless in that it doesn't bring the victim back to life. | 1. The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much. 2. It creates another form of crime deterrent. 3. Justice is better served. 4. Our justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims. 5. It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence. 6. DNA testing and other methods of modern crime scene science can now effectively eliminate almost all uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence. 7. Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill. 8. It contributes to the problem of overpopulation in the prison system. 9. It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system. |

Overview/Background
The United States remains in the minority of nations in the world that still uses death as penalty for certain crimes. Many see the penalty as barbaric and against American values. Others see it as a very important tool in fighting violent pre-meditated murder. Two things have once again brought this issue to national debate. One is the release of some highly publicized studies that show a number of innocents had been put to death. The second is the issue of terrorism and the need to punish its perpetrators.  Yes

1. Financial costs to taxpayers of capital punishment is several times that of keeping someone in prison for life. Most people don't realize that carrying out one death sentence costs 2-5 times more than keeping that same criminal in prison for the rest of his life. How can this be? It has to do with the endless appeals, additional required procedures, and legal wrangling that drag the process out. It's not unusual for a prisoner to be on death row for 15-20 years. Judges, attorneys, court reporters, clerks, and court facilities all require a substantial investment by the taxpayers. Do we really have the resources to waste? 2. It is barbaric and violates the "cruel and unusual" clause in the Bill of Rights. Whether it's a firing squad, electric chair, gas chamber, lethal injection, or hanging, it's barbaric to allow state-sanctioned murder before a crowd of people. We condemn people like Ahmadinejad, Qaddafi, and Kim Jong Il when they murder their own people while we continue to do the same (although our procedures for allowing it are obviously more thorough). The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents the use of "cruel and unusual punishment". Many would interpret the death penalty as violating this restriction. 3. The endless appeals and required additional procedures clog our court system. The U.S. court system goes to enormous lengths before allowing a...
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