The Death Penalty: In the name of Justice?
The state murdering people because of their crimes simply does not equate to justice. It is real easy to hear about how the government is doing this wrong or that, but the death penalty is abounded with so many injustices and faults that it’s an embarrassment to our entire due process of law. Supporters of capital punishment subscribe to religious and ethical points of view rather than facts, and when they do offer facts it’s always the same argument: “It’s a deterrent.” The death penalty is extremely flawed, most notably it comes with a very high price tag to an already under-funded correctional institution in America; no stable argument has been installed to warrant it as a deterrent; and the moral decay it establishes creates among other things a feeling of revenge and spite within society.
Many people for and against the death penalty are under the proposed belief that capital punishment is a deterrent for crime. No study can offer a clear explanation of this theory. Almost a dozen states don’t offer a death penalty, and a dozen more haven’t executed in over fifty years that have one. Are their first and second-degree murder rates head and shoulders above the other states? Of course not. Some of these states include large metropolis’ such as Minnesota’s twin cites. Detroit has a high crime rate (in actual number not on a per capita basis) in Michigan, which doesn’t offer a death penalty, but Birmingham has one of the highest crime rates per capita in the nation. What has Alabama’s electric chair not done in Birmingham that life in prison has done in St. Paul? Deter crime, particularly murder. Studies have shown that, all evidence in view, long prison terms punish just as effectively as capital sentences.
The flaws of capital punishment become too many shortly after they total one. This is because of the focus of the death penalty that being human life. Innocent people being sent to death or being released within weeks of execution are becoming frequent stories on the nightly news. The legal system is disturbingly unable to correctly administer the death penalty. Every day individuals who can’t afford a lawyer have to have one appointed to them under the constitution. Almost thirty percent of Americans can’t afford health care, how are they supposed to afford a lawyer? These lawyers, who are on average paid 5 dollars an hour, have little to no incentive to gather all the precious materials to adequately support the accused. A dire-strait circumstance develops when all the materials the prosecution has at his fingers are summed into the equation. If the defendant has a valid case to offer what chance has he to have it properly organized in front of a jury?
Another ignorant belief of the death penalty is that it saves money compared to the alternative of life imprisonment. False. In order to preserve due process many long and drawn-out court appeals must be installed at the taxpayer’s expense. On average it takes nine years to administer an inmate on death row an execution. With all the court costs and expenses it costs more then two million dollars after the nine years are finally up. A life prison sentence including beds, meals, and prison space roughly hits the 330 thousand mark Over-spending by the government is on every one’s mind. Wouldn’t Capital punishment be a nice place to start?
It all starts with revenge. There is no other reason to support the death penalty other than to “fry that son-of-a-bitch!” Many advocates hide behind and hoist the justice banner when what they are really doing is rallying their feelings of spite and revenge into the justice system. A parent of a murdered son didn’t want the murderer executed. She was pointed at as betraying her son because she didn’t want the killer of her son murdered. This thinking complicates ethics and confuses morality because the family of the murdered will have to live with the fact that some one else had to die, the murderer, and that killing that person still leaves their son dead. It’s okay to think that the punishment should fit the crime, but is that sufficient enough reason to give the government permission to kill because “they deserved it?” Or why is murder the end crime that it gets the worst possible punishment? Rape, in most peoples mind, is far worst then murder. Ask a prisoner, who were the deadbeats in prison? Who started all the fights? They will quickly say, “the rapists.” Many rapists get single digit sentences. and does a state employed person rape someone for being a rapist?
We have come a long way in society. In biblical times people were executed quite frequently. Thirteen-year-old females, commonly, were also the mothers of two. We simply can’t afford the price tag the death penalty offers. There will never be a model that states the death penalty as a deterrent of murder. Especially over the more cost efficient vehicle of life-imprisonment. The moral dilemma that capital punishment installs provides another obstacle to an already morally challenged society. It can be argued economically, ethically, or on a factional basis, capital punishment needs to be left in the history books. It simply has no place in today’s society. It’s time to move on.