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The Death Penalty Should Continue to Be Used in the U.S.

Oct 08, 1999 1339 Words
The Death Penalty Should Continue to be Used in the U.S.

Ever since the death penalty has been declared constitutional in 1976, thousands of people have been placed on death row and 314 of them have been executed.( Yaffe,1) Thirty-eight states now allow the death penalty, with New York being the last to adapt this legislation last March. Massachusetts and Iowa have been trying to pass a law that would to allow the death penalty to be used in their states. Capital punishment is most often saved for murder and sometimes arson, treason, burglary, and forcible rape of a 14 year old or under from a 18 year old or older, but it varies within each state. There are many politicians who are trying to pass laws banning the death penalty. There are around 3000 people on death row across the country right now and if these politicians get their way, then 3000 lives will be spared.(Matthews,1) The rage of this issue continues to persist with many people questioning if capital punishment is really the answer to solving the problem of crime. The death penalty sh ould beallowed because it is not inhumane but rather fair and it's continued use will end up helping out society in many ways.

Many people who oppose the death penalty say it is inhumane and unfair. These people who oppose it say that all human life has the right to be respected. All human life does have the right to be respected but there is a point when that right can be lost, if someone takes the life of another human being then they have given up that right. Another claim the opposers to the death penalty make is that the death penalty encourages more murders because if people see the authority taking someone's life, then they will think they can do it too. This is not true, if criminals see that more and more people are getting the death penalty, this will cause them to think their actions over. The United Kingdom abolished the death penalty in 1965 and since then, violent crime has more than doubled.(Matthews,2) The death penalty is not inhumane because it can be done painlessly and quickly. In most cases when the execution was performed the process that was most often used was lethal injection. Out of the 314 executions that have taken place since 1976 the majority of them, 179 have been done by means of lethal injection. The electric chair has been used 123 times, the gas chamber: 9 times, a firing squad: twice, and hanging: once.(Rodriquez, 4) Lethal injection is a quick, non-suffering way to execute the death row prisoners. Opposers to the death penalty don't even realize that these inmates are being done a favor. By being executed, they are being put out of their misery. There are not that many people who want to be stuck in a small cell for the rest of their life where prison rape has become more common. By executing these prisoners, they won't have to suffer. Another reason the people who oppose the death penalty feel that it is unfair is that it denies the person the privilege to be retried if any new evidence comes up. On the average, an inmate in kept in prison 8 years before their death sentence is carried out.(Yaffe,2) If no evidence is found by then to prove their true innocence, chances are no evidence will ever be found. Besides anyone who is on death row has already gone through a trial so they had their chance to prove their innocence. The jury obviously found them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and decided they should get the death penalty. Justice has already prevailed. Even though the Old Testament book of Exodus commands "Thou shall not kill," just three chapters later in the same book it is advocating "life for life," "eye for eye," and "tooth for tooth". The death penalty can be justified because it can be done painlessly, it is actually putting the prisoners out of their misery, and the prisoner has to deal with the consequences from what they did.

The death penalty also keeps dangerous criminals from ever returning to the streets again where they can recommit they same crimes. There are criminals who have been sentenced for 50 years to life in prison but end up getting out years earlier for good behavior because the prisons are getting so crowded. When the U.S. Department of Justice studied all the available criminal records of those that were on death row they found out some pretty interesting facts. Sixty-seven percent of the people on death row were convicted of a previous felony. Every two out of five of them committed their capital offense while they were on parole or on probation. Forty- two percent of them had active criminal justice records.(Matthews, 3) Some criminals are too dangerous too even be put in prison because of the risk of them escaping. Terrorists threaten and endanger the lives of many people so if they are caught, they should immediately be put to death. This doesn't seem to be a problem because most terrorists have no fear of dying. Many take huge risks with dangerous explosives or carry out attacks that could kill themselves as well as the others. If the inmates are eventually let out, most have nowhere to go and it is hard for them to find a job so they will return to their old ways. Only 37.4% have finished high school, 15.3% have never even finished eighth grade and only 10.2% have attended college.(Matthews, 4) Not only do the prisons get crowded but it gets to be too expensive to keep all these criminals in prison until they die. More and more people are put in prison each year and the inmates from all the previous years still remain there and few are released so it is an unequal balance. Eventually, more prisons are going to have to be built which means more money being spent or dangerous criminals are going to be put back onto the streets. It is cheaper to execute the ones who have life sentences. Many who oppose the death penalty say that the execution would cost more, but that is not true. It only costs more when the trial that decides if the defendant should get the death penalty goes on for a long time and when the jury can't decide a verdict. The death penalty will allow more room in prison so less dangerous criminals will be forced to return back to the streets of society and it will lessen costs as opposed to keeping an inmate in prison for the rest of their life. This will help the country out a lot.

The death penalty should be allowed because it is not inhumane but rather fair and it's continued use will end up helping out society in many ways. The thousands of criminals who take a person's life should be punished. If a jury decides what they did was severe enough to earn the death penalty, then their judgement should be approved. This way society is showing it is not going to go soft on criminals who victimize and frighten the country. This way the tables are turned and the criminals are the ones who are frightened for their lives, it may sound cruel to some people but at least there is one less person who is out there to victimize them and that person will never be able to hurt anyone else again.

Works Cited

Matthews, Robert. "The Final Judgement." Focus, 18 November 1995: CD Newsbank. Rodriquez, Era M. "Court Ponders Limits of Its Own Power." The Recorder, 19 March 1996:
Internet. Yaffe, Deborah. "Federal Court Weighs in on California Rule for Death Row Cases." New York Times, 4 June 1996: CD Newsbank.

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