The Danger Of The Death Penalty This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Bringing back the death penalty in Massachusetts would solve nothing. If the state were to attempt to use it justly, it would not be an effective deterrent against murder, and it would waste the resources of the already overburdened judicial and penal systems.

The taking of someone's life is very serious, which is why many argue that the death penalty should be reinstated. But it also is for this reason precisely that the death penalty is a dangerous form of punishment. Once someone's life has been taken, it cannot be given back. Just as it is an atrocity that innocent people are murdered, so it would be if one innocent person were murdered by the state in the name of justice. It is for this reason that before the death penalty may be carried out, the state must allow numerous appeals on the part of the convicted murderer. These necessary appeals give the convicted person several chances to be acquitted, or at least to have the death sentence commuted. Even if the evidence against the person is overwhelming, the appeals he or she are allowed can drag on for years.

Appeals are a necessary step before the death penalty is used, but they make the death penalty an ineffective deterrent for would-be murderers who know that these appeals give them a good chance of avoiding death, at least immediate death. The appeals also make the work of state prosecutors more difficult. With an already growing number of cases to handle, these appeals slow the judicial process and increase the legal backlog.

The death penalty would be a wonderful thing if we could be sure if we were killing the right person. The problem is that no matter how many appeals we grant, we never will be completely sure. As long as we are unsure, and we execute people, then, despite our intentions, we are in danger of becoming as bad as the kind of people we are killing.n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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