Ms. Rachel Williams
28 April 2011
Research Paper on the Death Penalty
The death penalty is a capital punishment that is put into effect for major crimes. The death penalty is a very controversial topic in the United States and throughout the world. There was a time period were the death penalty was banned for about four years in 1972-1976. Many feel that the death penalty is justice because it is retribution toward criminals who have committed heinous crimes. However the death penalty is inhumane and should be abolished in the United States.
The death penalty has been around since the beginning of civilization. “Capital Punishment has been practiced in most known societies over the course of humans history” (Garland 30). The website Introduction to the Death Penalty states that the death was first established for 25 different crimes, however, over the years the laws have changed. Fortunately, only one-third of the world still uses this type of punishment. There are only a few developed countries that have the death penalty, such as Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. The most recent countries that have abolished the death penalty because they deamed it inhumane are Burundi, and Togo in 2009, and Gabon in 2010. Unfortunately the U.S. is one of the few developed countries that still have the death penalty. Writer Scott Christianson says, “In the United States, however, serious consideration of abolition was slower in the coming, for political reasons. On the one hand, capital punishment had been used since the earliest days of exploration and Colonization; it was still legal in all but a few states” (176). In the U.S. only fourteen states have abolished the death penalty, the most recent states to abolish the death penalty are New York in 2007, New Mexico in 2009, and Illinois in 2011. Writer Michael Meranze says, “Europe redefined itself as a death penalty- free zone and seventy countries around the globe abolished the death since 1976, where us the United States not only reinstated capital punishment but thirty-six states and the federal government expanded its use and provenance” (Garland et. all 73). “Since 1977, 611 people have been executed in the United States …. executions in the U.S. have been carried out at an increasing rate, with more than half of the executions since 1976 having occurred in the last five years” (Barry). The United States has used many different methods to execute prisoners over the years. Two of the first methods were hanging and firing squad. Although these methods are considered archaic now, there are still some states that allow the use of hanging and firing squads. These states that can still use hanging are Delaware, New Hampshire, and Washington. States that can still use firing squads are Idaho, Oklahoma, and Utah. Another method of execution that was used for years in the U.S. is the electric chair. There is currently only one state that still uses the electric chair as its main method of execution, which is Nebraska. Another method that is rarely used but is still on the books for some states is the gas chamber. Writer Scott Christianson says, “The earliest gas chamber for execution purposes was constructed in the Nevada state penitentiary at Carson city and first employed on February 8, 1924 …(1). States that still have the gas chamber are Arizona, California, Missouri, and Wyoming. The main source of execution for all states with the death penalty [with the exception of Nebraska is lethal injection. Lethal injection is puts poisonous drugs into a person’s bloodstream to kill them. However because the poisonous drug is so expensive some states are starting to use the same drug to put down animals for human beings. Advocates claim that having the death penalty for crimes deters crime because they think people are scared of punishment; however, the death penalty does not deter crime. The death penalty is useless because the criminals committing the...