Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice

Topics: Death Penalty, Crime, Prison Pages: 5 (1832 words) Published: May 30, 2014
The United States Criminal Justice System is a fundmental part to society that focuses on protecting citizens in the United States Constiution as well as ensuring each individual is law adbiding law and not commiting serious acts of crimes. Each law was put in state and federal statues to ensure it continues and as time has changed some of the laws have not changed. In present day, the criminal justice system faces comptemporary issues as well as trends that not only affect today but in the future and how important each member of society hold a significant value to the criminal justice system. For many decades the criminal justice system has endured many issues and problems that are currently questioning exactly how fair United States Criminal Justice system is to citizens and criminals that participate in both misdeameanor and violent offenses. The Corrections Department is one specific department that faces many controversies involving the validilty of one’s constitutional right of the Eighth Amendment. The Founding Fathers created one of the famous amendments that prohibits the law from enforcing cruel and unusual punishment in capital punishment. At one time, capital punishment consisted of electrocution, firing squad, and the gas chamber. Unfortunately, many individuals believe that this form of punishments were cruel and unusual and many states eliminated these methods in their executions. In present day, lethal injection is the new method used in state executions that have not banned the death penalty as a form of punishment. The death penalty is used in only 32 states as of 2014 however the re-creation of lethal drug cocktail makes the world ponder if the lethal injection method is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. The issue of the new combination of lethal injections drugs have many opposers speculating should the death row inmate have the legal right to know exactly what is behind the newly developed death penalty drugs as well as if it against the Eighth Amendment. Two death row inmates in the State of Oklahoma pleaded with the higher courts to disclose any information pertaining to the ingredients of the drugs however the Oklahoma Supreme Court specifically stated, “This court holds that the secrecy provision ... does not violate the inmates' constitutional right of access to the courts. The Oklahoma Supreme Court said the only remaining issue, then, is whether the state's failure to disclose its source for the drugs prevents the prisoners from challenging their executions using the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The court decided it did not”(CNN,2014). Following the ruling, the stay of executions of Charles Warner and Clayton Lockett were uplifted and were scheduled to a double execution on April 29, 2014 that would forever change the proper protocols of execution guidelines and the Cruel and Unusual Punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment. Clayton Lockett received the first injection around 6:23 pm and ten minutes following his injection he was unconscious. After the doctor noticed he was unconscious he administered the last two drugs that would execute Clayton Lockett. Between 6:44 and 6:56 pm the doctor that was administering the medical procedures of the execution addressed that the inmates vein had collapased that led for the drugs to either absorb in his tissue or leaked out(The Guardian ,2014). Immediately the inmate passed away of a massive heart attack. Following the execution, the other inmate that was supposed to be execute right after Lockett did not face the punishment and currently he is on a 180 day stay until the state government can conduct a full investigation into the botched execution. Supporters of the death penalty believe the execution was conducted appropriately however opposers believe he faced a slow painful death. The question remains will the death penalty in the State of Oklahoma be abolished or test the drugs before they are...
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