The death penalty: Neccessary, effective, and the ultimate punishment


The death penalty has been a form of punishment for dozens of centuries, but recently, the morality of this penalty has been incredibly questioned in America and all over the world for that matter. Since the banning of capital punishment in many European countries, the U.S. has begun to debate over the banning of it or not. With over 80% of Americans voting to keep the penalty, many hard core activists are causing uproar and claiming the method “unethical” and “a waste of life”. Supporters of the penalty believe to look at the situation as an eye for an eye, meaning if a life is taken by someone, then that someone is to be taken of theirs. The death penalty should continue to be used as a form of punishment for the most dangerous of criminals because it is useful to sway other future criminals to not commit those same crimes as well as freeing the world of a horrible being. 

The death penalty is a useful form of punishment that should continue to be used against the savage most convicted criminals, in contrast of many moral issues concerning the penalty being brought up. In 1998, four-year old Genny Rajas was viciously abused and murdered by her aunt and uncle, Veronica and Ivan Gonzales. According to an article titled “The Death Penalty is Appropriate” by Charles Stimson, young Genny was “suspended [her] alive by a hook on the closet wall in their apartment” and was “shook violently, strangled [her], beat with a hairbrush, and handcuffed for days”. Genny was finally freed of the abuse when the estranged relatives put her into a scalding hot bath tub, leading to the passing of the toddler. Unfortunately, though, this is not even close to the only blood curdling and henious case of murder. As well, statistics from the 2020 Gallup poll on American’s attitudes towards capital punishment show that upwards to 55% of Americans are in favor of the penalty to this day, which has went down since the 80% statistic from 1995. With this being said, many still believe that the penalty could bring death upon wrongfully prosecuted, innocent individuals. In the article titled “Capital Punishment- Arguments for and Against Capital Punishment” by Britannica it is stated that several fashion laws and procedures that ensure punishment for those factually deserving of death sentencing have been executed and taken into more consideration than it has been in earlier years, which will help eliminate the wrongfully convicted from receiving the capital punishment. Another argument American’s have concerning the death penalty is that it is a discriminatory act that favors against minorities. The article “Should the Death Penalty be Abolished” written by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the court case McCleskey v. Kemp in 1987 is talked about. The article states that, “the Court held that statistical evidnce of racial discrimination in death sentencing cannot establish a violation of the Eighth or Fourteenth Amendments”. With this information and the commonly known fact of most of the death penalty convicted are indeed caucasian, therefore removing the argument of racially biased death sentencings. Whether it is an argument over morality, racial injustice, or the accuracy of the sentencing, the statistics and arguments against these claims talked about above helps to prove the advantages of America keeping the death penalty as a capital punishment. 

Opposing views claim that the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment. In the article “Should the Death Penalty be Abolished?” the violation of the Eighth Amendent’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment is discussed as well as stating the death penalty removes basic human rights. However, this is not a cruel and unusual punishment in comparison to the horrendous acts the convicted criminals committed upon their innocent victims. Also, the execution methods used are humane in the matter of the inmate not feeling copious amounts of pain, making it nowhere near “cruel”. Opponents of keeping the death penalty also argue that the penalty causes tax payers to have to pay more. An article titled “5 Reasons Some People Think the World Needs the Death Penalty” states, “A study done in California discovered qthat it was actually more expensive to execute a person than to keep them in jail for life”. While this statement is factually correct, it avoids the fact that there is a much higher number of prisoners serving life in prison than the number of inmates executed. This argument is just looking at this fact as a 1 to 1 ratio; the price to keep one person in prison for life versus the price to execute one person, while it should be looked at by the large difference in numbers of the individual persons facing these either punishments. Tax payers do not have to pay nearly as much as they do to keep the much larger number of inmates in prison.

Concluding, the death penalty is a very effective form of punishment that should be continued to be used. It is not to be considered as a cruel and/or unusual punishment. Criminals should not be able to continue living on this planet if they take a soul, especially if it is mass numbers. Not punishing the savage most criminals with the death penalty will remove the sense of regret for their actions and will also tempt future criminals and killers to walk the streets and continue taking lives. Taking a life is to be punished with the execution of their own. As former United States President Abraham Lincoln once said, “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.”

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