“Death Penalty in the USA”
“The death penalty is not about whether people deserve to die for the crimes they commit. The real question of capital punishment in this country is, Do we deserve to kill?”
“Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption”
It is legal in 30 states of the USA out of 50 United States Military and Federal government is also using it. In olden times death penalty was time and again conducted as beheading but this method is not used by America and the criminals faced the death to put them in an electric chair, hanging, lethal injections, by shooting and poisonous gas. Nowadays mostly lethal injections are used.
In England minor crimes like stealing or picking pockets were punished by death during 1800s thousands were gathered to witness capital punishment. But in America laws concerning capital punishment were different depending on the colonies death penalty was not part of America’s justice system until the 19th century like the first execution that took place in the USA of George Kendall who was charged with espionage activities in 1608 and he faced a firing squad. Early in 1800 lot of people stands against the death penalty especially after World War 2 in the 1800s, a lot of people from Europe and America raise their voices against the death penalty. So England America and many other countries reduce the punishment for minor felonies and concentrated on first-degree murder assassinations that depict planning, deliberateness, and cold-bloodedness. Public executions were also banned. From 1968 to 1976 no execution took place in America.
In the 1972 Supreme Court announced that it is a violation of the 8th Amendment and declare it as harsh and scarce punishment and suggested that new laws would be acceptable if meet the standards of imposing death sentences so new laws were set and the court would impose death penalty to the criminals of first degree murder who undergoes a proper trial. Today about 50 criminals are executed each year and it takes 14 years from death sentence to execution but in some cases it is different. According to Banner, he is a Law professor at university in St. Loius Washington writes in his book “about the many changes in capital punishment over the years—changes in arguments pro and con, in the crimes punished with death, in execution methods and rituals, and more generally in the way Americans have understood and experienced the death penalty” (Banner, 2002)
Pros of the Death Penalty in the US
The most important goal of US law is to provide protection to the citizens and in doing so violent crime must be avoided at all costs and in order to fulfill this strongest warning is required that’s why there is death penalty law to the cases of first degree murder so that people know that they will die if found guilty. Now the US is adopting a much more compassionate method was introduced by giving poisonous injection to victim who cause immediate death and it is not as painful better than the past methods. Some criminals commit such hideous crimes that they truly deserve capital punishment it provides safety to other individuals living in the society and also prevents the person on a death row from committing another crime. It also shapes the behavior of other non-violet criminals. In America 2.3 million offenders are in federal and state prison. 44300 people are waiting for trail 41000 is in detention in immigration centers and the 704000 prisoners are characterized as fierce criminals in state prisons. In the US when there are no chances of the survival for the individuals when capital punishments imposed, violent crimes are the major problem in America especially in last two decades there is a rapid increase in violent crimes nationwide so death sentences is an effective method to deterrent crime in America as well as the whole world.
Cons of the Death Penalty in the US
Rendering to the United State Death Penalty Information Center the basic charges for the case of death penalty is about $74,000.00 and for the capital punishment charges are nearly 1.26M USD. Because the length of time for a death sentence is 15 years in America so housing a prisoner on death row costs more than life imprisonment as the prosecution expenses are included.in America data were collected as some States have the death penalty and some have not and surprisingly it showed that States with most executions have the highest violent crime rate. Recently New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, eliminated the capital punishment and came across a clear reduction in their homicide percentage. We can also call deathh penalty as a next higher level of punishment and justice but in many cases victims’ families are not satisfied researches shows that families of the victim are more satisfied psychologically when the criminal is given a life sentence than capital punishment. 162000 prisoners in the US are serving life imprisonment.
The incarceration rate is increasing in the US for the past few years due to these reasons. The case of Cameron Willingham an American who was convicted and then executed for the murder of three children in a fire is still unclear as 8 different experts say that verdict was totally based on a defective knowledge. So death sentence may involve the risks slaughtering an innocent person. Some criminals commit monstrous crimes for peculiar desire or pleasure they must be given severe punishment but 20% of Americans prisoners include people who are on drugs and when these prisoners came in contact with felony like first degree murderers their behavior deteriorates instead of improving because the death penalty prisoners mostly have no remorse. Death penalty halts all the opportunity of improvement or making amends these people can never be rehabilitated. So basically capital punishment sort of abandons people and there is no chance of their counseling. “Some scholars have further pointed out that for some offenders, their abuse of drugs or alcohol starts out as a way to cope with victimization experiences they suffered as children” (Inciardi, Lockwood, & Pottieger, 1993)
Capital punishment implementation in the US have both pros and cons like death can be used as a deterrent against crime but the risk of execution of any innocent individual is also involved.
Death Penalty a Controversial Topic
Americans have been torn for years over the implementation of the death penalty. Only 3 people are executed by the US federal government, as capital punishment is mostly at the state level. This is no doubt the most heated and emotional debate in America. According to Amnesty International a human rights organization the United States is eighth among the countries like China, Iran, and Pakistan Saudi Arabia who practice capital punishment. According to the report China executed nearly 2400 people in 2015 it is a shockingly large number. Then in America there is gender, racial, political, religious thoughts on this subject. A wide majority of white people are in favor of the death penalty compared to blacks or Hispanics similarly men are in favor of this but most women are against it then there are catholic and individuals with other religious Prejudice is also a key factor and Republicans versus Democrats also have viewed so there are many factors involved in capital punishment.
Then there is a debate on the execution of mentally insane people anyone who does not understand the reality is by the law prohibited to execute but in the US we had examples such as Askari Abdullah in Florida was executed for a murder despite the fact that he was a patient of Schizophrenia, Kelsey Paterson was executed in Texas he was also a psychotic patient. In spite of all the advantages and disadvantages of death penalty Americans must ponder on what is actually practical and correct for the US. The death penalty is not efficient in the modern legitimate system. There are numerous extents of proof that verifies that the this kind of punishment is not effective. Efficiency the people who support it, claims that this teaches a lesson to others criminals and violent crimes will be decreased but by the statistics we came to know that Texas has the hardest penalties beside severe court system and they spent 407, 000.00 $ on capital punishment but the crime rate is still high there. Similarly the biggest error is the wrongful conviction innocent people are killed and we can observe that each American state impose or implement the death penalty in a different manner.
Capital punishment is a very broad issue that needs proper analysis of each and every aspect. A crystal clear view of the Constitution and its amendments is also essential still some States belief that it is a very fair punishment it does not kill innocent but only the criminal with heinous crimes and it treat defendants equally while other states are off the view that it’s totally a barbaric act. If the US wants to keep on the operating the death penalty in their law and justice system they must make sure not to convict any innocent. The society and US Supreme Court as a whole reflect on this system because death sentences are irreversible instead life imprisonment gives an ample amount of deterrence and retribution and is a more severe and less expensive form of punishment. It is a cruel way to punish any criminal and it’s also against rights of the US constitution. The death penalty is an extremely diverse and controversial issue, and one cannot stay neutral while discussing this.
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