The Death Penalty

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The Death Penalty


Robin Schwartz

Criminal Justice Systems

Professor Hale

April 23, 2011

The death penalty, otherwise known as capital punishment or execution, is a term used to describe the act of putting a person to death, after judgment by a legal system, either as an act of retribution, or to ensure the person convicted cannot commit future crimes (McGuigan). The methods of capital punishment are lethal injection, electrocution, gassing, hanging, and firing squad. Until the 21st century, electrocution and gassing were the most prevalent methods of execution in the United States. Currently, lethal injection is most used and allowed in all states in which sanction the death penalty (Facts). There are currently 41 federal laws that provide for the death penalty. Just to name a few, these statutes include first-degree murder, destruction of an aircraft, motor vehicles, or related facilities resulting in death, espionage, murder during a kidnapping or hostage taking, murder related to rape, molestation, or sexual exploitation of children, and treason (Federal). Although New Jersey does not practice the death penalty, currently there are 35 states in the U.S. that do. Since 1976 to 2010, there have been a total of 1,246 executions. Death row exonerations weigh in at 138 people since 1973. The race of the defendants executed were 56% white, 35% black, and 7% Hispanic, while the race of the victim in death penalty cases are 76% white, 15% black, and 6% Hispanic. According to the former and present top academic criminologists in the country, 88% of them rejected the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder (Facts). The death penalty debate of whether it is right or wrong is one of efficacy, legality, religion, and most importantly morality. It is still considered one of the most controversial debates that have been ongoing in American society over its history. Whether one is for abolishing this form of...
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