The Death Penalty is Not Effective Essay Example


There are so many problems with the death penalty it becomes clear it is an immoral and unethical solution to the problem of crime. Should someone who coldheartedly murders their victims be executed by the state? Does someone like William Bonin, who raped, sodomized and strangled many of his victims until they turned blue and died, deserve to live? For many people it is a very easy decision. Many people believe that such a brutal inhuman monster should die to keep society safe. Just ask those few who stood outside San Quentin Prison holding up signs: "BURN, BONIN, BURN." And with 80 percent of registered California voters supporting capital punishment, those people in front of San Quentin are not a small minority.

However, the death penalty is not an easy answer to an extremely complex problem. If the death penalty works, why did it take 14 years for Bonin to finally be executed? People complain that tax dollars are being wasted on letting those savage killers sit in their cells and watch television all day, yet it is cheaper to let convicted criminals spend the rest of their lives in prison than it does to have them executed. A death-penalty trial costs $592,5000 compared to $93,000 for a non-capital murder. An average of $90 million dollars a year is spent on the death penalty.

These same people may argue that if executions happened more often, it would cut down on the overcrowding in the state prisons. But even if the states executed all death-row inmates, there would still be overcrowding in the prison system. Statistical studies have shown that the death penalty is not a deterrent to criminal behavior. Even if society executed all death row inmates there would still be an overpopulation in our nation's prison systems. States like Texas put to death 20 to 30 inmates a year. Yet, they receive 300 to 400 new death-row inmates each year. Capital Punishment is not solving a problem.

Race is a large factor when it comes to who gets sentenced to death. Fifty percent of all death row inmates are black. Defendants who are black are four times more likely to receive death than someone who is white. Statistics have shown that killers of whites are four times more likely to be sentenced to death than a killer of a black. No white person has been sentenced to death for killing a black or Hispanic victim. And no woman has been executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 1977. Last month Gov. Patoki of New York claimed "Justice has been served" as he signed the new death penalty bill into law. If the death penalty is a measure of fairness and justice, why did prosecutors not seek death in the O.J. Simpson murder trial? If it had been a young, black male from Compton or Watts on trial for the same crime, prosecutors surely would have sought death Many people choose to ignore these facts or blame them on the liberal media. But, for me, it is different. I can stare these facts right in the face, but still struggle with the issues. To sympathize with the murderer rather than the families of the victims is wrong.

It becomes painfully obvious that capital punishment does not work. The studies indicate it is not a deterrent. If the goal is to keep society safe, then locking away an individual for the rest of their life would accomplish that. Never again will they have control over their environment. Never again will they be able to take a shower when they want, walk in a park or turn on the lights when they want. And they will never be able to kill again. After the execution of Bonin, some of the supporters opened a bottle of champagne as if the 49ers had just won another Super Bowl rather than someone had been executed. Maybe some different questions need to be asked. Do we want a society that cheers and celebrates when someone is killed? When celebrating the death of another, don't we surrender part of our humanity? Capital punishment convinces us society can feel good about itself with the death of one mass murderer while failing to address the complex issues.

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