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The Pros and Cons of the Death Penalty in America

Jul 4, 2023 | 0 comments

Jul 4, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

The article analyses the necessity of the death penalty from the author’s perspective. The author suggests that many of the American Citizens support the death penalty. All states in America were previously in support of the death penalty when the nation was founded. The main disadvantage associated with the imposition of the death penalty is that statistics have shown that an innocent person is likely to be convicted of the offence they are not responsible for. The sentence cannot distinguish the guilty from the innocent (Turrow 1).


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Since the founding of the American nation, the states allowed the imposition of the death penalty. However, several questions were asked as to whether it was humane for states to impose the punishment and whether such actions were in favour of democracy. President Jefferson was one of the persons who viewed the death penalty as inhuman and restricted it. Similarly, in 1846 Michigan became the first American state to outlaw capital punishment with several exceptions. Several countries followed suit with imposed limitations on the application of capital punishment (Turrow 1).

Despite these restrictions, murder is still a prevalent offence in America from the news reports. More people are questioning how best to deal-to-deal with the capital offence since the set measures do not seem to work. The public is leaning towards retribution and forgiveness. Several arguments are put forth in support or against the death penalty. First, is that the system is a deterrence mechanism. Illinois is a state that has the death penalty, at the same time it reports a higher number of crimes than Michigan a state with no death penalty. Statistics indicate that states with the death penalty report higher numbers of murder crimes than those with no death penalty. Therefore, it is clear that the death penalty does not reduce crime.

Secondly, the death penalty is favoured because it is said to save money. For instance, instead of locking up the criminals who need food and other basic needs they are simply killed and eradicated from the community. However, this argument does not hold water since the average period between conviction and execution is 12 years; this period is coupled with state-funded litigation (Turrow 1).

Thirdly, capital punishment is argued to be the best alternative for families and victims. Public hearings from survivors and victims’ revealed that death by conviction did not, however, grant them relief. Most of the victims said that a sentence without parole was enough to guarantee that the defendant will not repeat the offence. They added execution posted an emotional burden on them. Most victims and survivors seek justice in the form of restitution and not retribution (Turrow 1).

In my opinion, the eradication of capital punishment is the appropriate measure. The justice system is not built on retribution mechanism, rather restoring the society and community to its initial peaceful state. The wrongdoer is supposed to know the impact of their actions and execution will not make them realize that. It is also possible to execute an innocent person, our justice system has from time to time been wrong about something; therefore, the chances of executing an innocent person are very high. Though it is painful to lose a loved one due to the criminal actions of another, executing the offender does not bring back a loved one. Therefore, the ultimate solution is a life sentence with no option of parole.

In conclusion, the issue of the death penalty is a complex and contentious one. While some argue for its necessity as a deterrent and means of justice, others highlight the potential for wrongful convictions and question its effectiveness in reducing crime. The evolution of attitudes towards capital punishment in the United States reflects the ongoing debate on its morality and compatibility with democratic principles. Ultimately, my perspective aligns with those advocating for the abolition of the death penalty. The justice system should focus on restoration rather than retribution, seeking to rehabilitate offenders and promote a peaceful society. Furthermore, the risk of executing an innocent person is too high to justify its continued use. Instead, a life sentence without parole provides a suitable alternative that ensures public safety while upholding the principles of fairness and humanity.

Work Cited

Turrow, Scott. “To kill or not to kill”. The New Yorker, January 6 2003.

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