Abolish Capital Punishment

February 17, 2008
By Jessica Hardman, Buckhannon, WV

“I have reached the conviction that the abolition of the death penalty is desirable. Reasons: (1) Irreparability in the event of an error in justice; (2) detrimental moral influence on [the people/society carrying out an execution]
-Albert Einstein. Dating back to colonial times, over 14,000 Americans have been executed using capital punishment. Twelve U.S. states have already abolished capital punishment and we must convince the other thirty- eight to do so. Throughout the world, capital punishment is believed to cost more than life in prison, be corrupt with race and class bias, and a violation of our most significant human rights.

To begin with, states across the U.S. have concluded that prosecuting a death penalty costs that state more than life in prison. In years past, North Carolina spent $2.16 million more on the death penalty than sentencing murderers to life in prison. In the state of Kansas, capital punishment cases are 70% more expensive than non- capital punishment cases. That money should be used for more important things. It is believed that the money used in prosecuting a death penalty should be used for education and social programs around the states.

Second, capital punishment continues to be corrupt with race and class bias. This punishment seems to target racial minorities because 55% of people on death row are people of color. Also, people who kill white people are more likely to receive the death penalty than those who kill black people. Not only is capital punishment racially bias, but it also has something to do with the salary of a person. Of the 3700 people under the death sentence, 95% could not afford a private attorney. Some of the lawyers who represent the person that could not afford a private attorney have slept during their trials.

Finally, we must abolish capital punishment because it is a violation of our most significant human rights. The death penalty eliminates the possibility for transformation of a person’s soul. Our government has a say in capital punishment which under values human life. The United States is the only western democracy which still uses the death penalty as a form of punishment. If the United States still uses the death penalty, the 8th amendment of the Constitution should not exist. The 8th amendment states that “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” People against capital punishment believe that the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment.

Throughout the world, including the United States, capital punishment is believed to cost more than life in prison, be corrupt with race and class bias, and a violation of our most significant human rights. The entire U.S. should abolish capital punishment once and for all, not just twelve states. Over 14000 people have been executed using capital punishment which is 14000 to many. “Having lost my father and grandmother to gun violence, I will understand the deep hurt and anger
felt by the loved ones of those who have been murdered. Yet I can't accept the judgement that their killers deserve to be executed. This merely perpetuates the tragic, unending cycle of violence that destroys our hope for a decent society.”
- Rev. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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