Issues Surrounding the Death Penalty

The death penalty is a death sentence by the state upon a person as punishment for crime(s) committed. Death penalty is an issue that has generated a lot of heated debate on whether it should be abolished or not. This essay will document different issues surrounding the death penalty.

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Personally, I do not support the death penalty. To start with, two wrongs do not make a right. There is no justification in killing a person who has committed a crime. As human beings, we have some privileges, but the issue of whether the lives of others belong to us is a rhetorical one that we need to answer. No person should have power over another person’s life. The death penalty raises questions on morality issues. It is not a means of dealing with crimes as it is also a violation of religious beliefs. The death penalty is intrinsic in nature; it is irreversible. Therefore, I always feel that the death penalty should be abolished altogether.

The U.S. is the only western country that uses the death penalty, but this varies from state to state. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, 41 out of 50 states have had no executions or have averaged about 1 execution every year. For the other 9 states, 5 have had about two to three executions per year, while one (Texas) has averaged more than three executions per year. In 2009, eleven states among them Colorado, Illinois, Washington, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana, Connecticut, Maryland and Kansas had considered bills to abolish death penalty. Among these states, New Mexico abolished the death penalty, while Connecticut had voted to abolish it although the governor vetoed the bill later. The states of Colorado and Montana did see the bill being defeated in the second house. Most of these states cite costs of executing the death penalty as the reason why they want it to be abolished (Dieter).

The state of Texas leads with the number of executions by 474 since 1976 and it is followed by Virginia. In fact, Texas has the largest rate of executions per million people. The given reasons are that the state’s supply of sodium thiopental had expired. The high number of executions in Texas may be because of the state’s appellate judges who get elected and thus may want to serve according to the pleasures of the public. Lack of a public defender in Texas may also have contributed to the high number of executions (Walpin).  

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Arguments for Death Penalty

Some people have always argued for the death penalty postulating that it will prevent future crimes (especially murders). They assert that the death penalty will deter would-be criminals from any unlawful action. To prevent future murders, they feel that the strongest punishment should be used; death penalty. The argument is that millions of people will be killed, if justice does not flow and crime rates will increase, if there seems to be a lot of leniency for criminals (Arguments for and against the death penalty).  

Arguments against the Death Penalty

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The first argument is that the death penalty does not rehabilitate the victim; he/she is already dead and nothing can bring him/her back. Another argument is that the death penalty has failed as a deterrent against potential crimes. The penalty has neither discouraged crimes as strong evidence suggests. Another reason why the death penalty should be abolished is the conviction of innocent people`s argument. Innocent people have been convicted and the death penalty of these innocent people makes a miscarriage of justice, as it is an irrevocable exercise. A suspect can stay in prison for a very long time, because of being suspected to have committed a crime of which he/she may be innocent before being released (Arguments for and against the death penalty). 

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