The Institution of the Death Penalty

March 26, 2010
By Le Bron SILVER, Roslyn, New York
Le Bron SILVER, Roslyn, New York
9 articles 0 photos 8 comments

There are currently five constitutional ways in which a person on death row can be killed: lethal injection, electrocution, hanging, firing squad, or gas chamber. The first two of these choices are allowed by the majority of states that actually use the Death Penalty. Thirty six states allow the use of lethal injection. Among them are California, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Eleven states also allow the use of electrocution. Some of them are Florida, Tennessee, and Texas. The use of the latter three methods, however are used when one of the former methods are deemed unconstitutional. These latter methods of hanging, firing squad, and gas chamber should be outlawed completely though.
Only New Hampshire and Washington still allow the use of hanging as a method of the Death Penalty. All other states have outlawed it because it is a barbaric and outdated practice for someone to be killed. It made a gruesome display of a criminal on the street. Lastly, the cost of maintaining this underused method does not validate how often it is used and is a giant waste of money for the government.
The use of firing squad is also outdated. Only Oklahoma and Utah still use firing squad as a method of the Death Penalty. Only two inmates on death row died by this method in 2009 and there are many reasons to validate why it is so underused. One reason is that firing squad can have traumatizing effects on the shooters. The people who shoot for the firing squads can experience the stress of thinking that they killed someone, and that stress can lead to anxiety and depression. Also, the cost of firing squads is not worth its usage. The government has to pay the shooters, for their guns, and for their bullets. In the end all of these expenses do not justify the usage of firing squads.
Death by gas chamber, however, is probably the most outdated of the five. Only Arizona, California, Maryland, Missouri, and Wyoming still allow death by gas chamber to be allowed. There is a long list of reasons why it is not used by most states. First of all, the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the words “gas chamber” is Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and WWII. This subconscious connection obviously causes unrest for many inmates on Death Row and it is a mystery why this method is still allowed to be used as a valid method of the Death penalty. Also, death by gas chamber is a torturous way to die. There is extreme pain and suffering, while being gassed. This suffering should be characterized as cruel and unusual punishment and there is no just way to allow it to be legal. Lastly, having to maintain the gas chambers, produce the gas, and hiring specialists to handle the gas costs too much money for the state and federal governments when this method is so underused so it has to be outlawed for economic reasons.
The main reason that justifies the outlawing of these Death Penalty methods is for economic reasons. The United States government and state governments have to pay and fund the entire jailing system. This means they have to fund all of these methods even though they are extremely underused and there usage does not validate there cost. This means that the US government and state governments are wasting money on Death Penalty methods in an economy where no money should be wasted and this money could be targeted at other areas of more dire need. Therefore, the Death Penalty should be restricted to only lethal injection and electrocution for reasons of humanity, practicality, and economic stability.

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