Some would answer this question by saying it depends on the crime, which I agree with to some extent. I feel the death penalty is justified in the case of premeditated murder, but in all other cases I am a firm believer in rehabilitation. I feel that killing people for a murderous act is a murderous deed in itself. I don't know if there is such a thing as a person beyond rehabilitation, but don't they deserve a chance? Most of them have something psychologically or physically wrong with them which caused them to commit murder.
People who support the death penalty say it reduces the murder rate, but in actuality studies show no increase in murders where capital punishment was abolished.
In 1972 the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty as it was enacted at that time was "cruel and unusual punishment" and violated the Eighth Amendment, but if carried out for certain crimes and applied uniformly, it could be imposed. The problem is that it is not always applied uniformly. In Georgia, a study investigating more than two thousand cases in the 1970's indicated that killers of whites in Georgia were more likely to receive the death penalty than killers of blacks. This is only one study, but who knows what might sway a jury or judge to a decision of death.
I believe we should follow the example of Canada, Latin America, Australia, and many other countries and abolish the death penalty. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.