Death Penalty in USA Essay
Death penalty has been a controversial issue in the international community. Many nations have been disturbed and argued about the best way it can be handled. This has made generation of questions on how best the capital offenders can be punished in order to have justice for both the offenders and victims of the circumstances. The bill of rights supports the right of individuals to live and associate freely. On the other hand, the same legal provision is also used to condemn capital offenders to death sentence.
The religious community questions the legality of the death sentences and at the same time urges citizens to follow the law. It is still ironical when they defend the law breakers. Many countries stress that the justice system must be observed for the victims. Several views have been given on this issue. They are legal, religious, political and socialist perspectives. There are arguments about the pros and cons of execution. Publicized studies have also confirmed that many innocent people have been wrongly executed. On the other hand, the issue of terrorism is a threat to state, especially when the perpetrators are not brought to book. What should be the best action to take? This has brought divergent views.
Generally, opinion is divided on the step to take on this issue. Some people insinuate that it will be very expensive on the tax payer’s side if execution is allowed. It costs about between two to five times more to execute a criminal than to maintain a criminal in the prison for the rest of the life (Paternoster and Bacon 91). Those against argue that the financial amount required is pegged on the long court procedures, legal wrangling and many endless appeals. A criminal can be on death row for up to 20 years (Baumgartner, Boydstun and De Boef 47). This is very expensive for the state due to the said legal procedures.
Supporters of the death penalty state that it is better to use state resources to penalize the murderers in order to save lives of innocent people. They categorically state that this action creates crime deterrent. Crime would always be on the increase if there is no any stern action taken against these people (Vaughn 98). According to research carried out in Pennsylvania alone, there are ineffective defense attorneys who fail to conduct satisfactory investigations to support their clients. This has lead to conviction of innocent suspects, especially those involved in complicated cases (Hood and Hoyle 105). Many cases are confirmed that some lawyers made mistakes and the judges have made rulings based on their findings.
It is also argued that death penalty is barbaric form of punishment. Paternoster and Bacon state that all forms of death penalty are unfair (55). In exemplifying this, the argument states, whether it is through lethal injection, hanging, using the firing squad or electric chair, this state sanctioned murder is not fair before a crowd of people (Paternoster and Bacon 56). For instances, California physicians refused the demand by the government to use lethal injection as a means of execution hence execution was stopped. They claimed that there are many constructive ways in addressing violent crimes and those two wrongs do not make a right (Baumgartner, Boydstun and De Boef 78).
However, the proponents of death penalty action feel that this is the only way to deter criminals from any further illegal actions. They argue that justice must be served in favour of the victims. Most fundamental legal provision is that punishment should always fit the crime. In addition, justice delayed is justice denied (Morris 70).
Those against death penalty sentences say that it is bad because the state should not use killing to show that murder and manslaughter are bad. There should be another appropriate method. Prison alone is effective because life there is quite deterring, as stated by those who are against the death penalty. They quote, ‘’ Living in the prison is punishment enough” (Baumgartner, Boydstun and De Boef 123). It is also feared that the killers themselves can revenge against the state depending on the punishment effected, basing their arguments on ‘’they killed one of us” slogan may surface (Paternoster and Bacon 89). In addition, the movement claims that it can destroy the positive image of the country. Amnesty International for instance had printed T-shirt with dots in the year 2010. Red stars showed US states still practicing death penalty whereas white stars showed those states not recommending death penalty (Vaughn 35).
In contrast, proponents argue out strongly on their stand. They simply note that the justice system shows sympathy to the criminals than to victims. They emphasized on re-establishing the criminal justice system back on track to ensure that justice prevails to the victims, and not to the accused. Besides, they have denied the claims by those opposing the innocent victims. On strengthening their position, they indicate that it is possible to conduct proper scientific research based on DNA testing to establish real murderers (Morris 203). Other forensic researches give confidence of about 99 %, thus it is very instrumental in the process of identification (Morris 196).
These views are very critical, depending on the cases to be determined. CNN’s perspective report on interviewing the most perceived supporters of death sentences, the families who lost their loved ones, stated that those families believed that executing the murderer would not do anything to them (Paternoster and Bacon 98). Some give reason based on the family faith while others just do not understand the gains they can have in executing the guilty. Barbara Anderson from Mississippi wrote a letter to district attorney giving reasons that out of faith, the family had reconsidered their stand on the murder case and was against capital punishment (Roger 49).
Other people state that when the prisoners are locked up in the cells, this may give them another opportunity escapes the prison cell. The remedy is simply to execute once and for all. This explains their argument for the death penalty.
Many states have started abolishing the death penalty conviction. It is only the countries like US, South Korea and Japan which are still practicing the capital offence punishment. But, even these countries are slowly coming to reality and in many democracies; the capital offence punishment is almost ending.
In conclusion, we have observed divergent views on the issue, but I noticed some important observations stated on the subject. That it makes no different in cases where the murderers are executed. This leads to even killing the innocent victims. Therefore, the best action to take in dealing with the capital offenders should not be death penalty. This will give room for reformation of these law breakers. In addition, human beings make laws and it is in such a way that they can be redesigned to enhance democracy in the whole world.
Baumgartner, Frank, R. , Boydstun, Amber, E. and De Boef, Suzzane, L. Decline of the Death Penalty & Discovery of Innocence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print. Opposing view points.
Hood, Roger, G. and Hoyle, Carolyn. “Death Penalty.” Worldwide Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print. Neutral view point.
Morris, Bakken, G. Invitation to an Execution: History of Death Penalty in US. Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 2010. Print. Supporting viewpoints.
Paternoster, Raymond and Bacon, Robert. Death Penalty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print opposing views.
Vaughn, Courtney. Living With Death Penalty. Bloomington, Ind: Xlibris Corporation, 2006. Print. Supporting views.