The Cost of Death

January 16, 2010
By Stephanie Resis SILVER, Inverness, Illinois
Stephanie Resis SILVER, Inverness, Illinois
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Life. It’s something so valuable…but at what cost? Should murderers be given a taste of their own medicine? The death penalty is a very controversial issue in today’s society. I believe that life imprisonment is a better alternative to the death penalty. The death penalty is more expensive than lifetime imprisonment. Life imprisonment punishes criminals more. The death penalty should also not be implemented because there many people have been wrongly executed.

Many people support the death penalty because they believe that murderers are evil and should be punished to the greatest extent possible. I agree with that criminals should be punished to the greatest extent, but believe life imprisonment will punish criminals more than a quick death. Former Arizona governor W.P. Hunt said that a murderer “may be punished through the medium of an awakened consciousness far more effectively than by breaking of his neck and hurling his soul into eternity.” I believe that criminals should do hard labor during their imprisonment, instead of just sitting in a cell contributing nothing to society. Citizens United for Alternatives for the Death Penalty suggest that the wages criminals would earn during a job in lifetime imprisonment should go to a restitution fund for social, psychological and religious help for victims and survivor families. People support the death penalty because it may give the victims and their families a peace of mind. However, wages the prisoners would earn would help the families vastly, and the families could be more at peace with the situation knowing that the criminal would be doing hard work the rest of their life.

Many people think that the death penalty is a cheaper, easier alternative to lifetime imprisonment, but in reality it is not. According to Amnesty International USA, the estimated cost of the death penalty was 70% more costly than the cost of a comparable non-death penalty case. The death penalty system costs California $137 million per year. It would only cost California $11.5 million for a system without using the death penalty as punishment. California alone would save $125.5 million in only ONE YEAR with getting rid of the death penalty. The tax money wasted on the death penalty could be used in so many other ways. Our tax money should be spent on funding schools , healthcare, and public services- the last thing it should be spent on is dealing with criminals.

Just because a person is declared guilty by court, does not mean that it is a guarantee that they are the criminal. Many factors influence wrongful conviction. According to Amnesty International, these factors can be a suspect’s inadequate legal representation, racial prejudice, community or political pressure to solve a case, mistaken eyewitness testimony, police misconduct, or misinterpretation of evidence. Under certain situations, a person could easily be falsely accused. Statistics prove this, as 130 people have been released from Death Row since 1973. Former governor of Illinois George Ryan said, “"I cannot support a system which, in its administration, has proven so fraught with error and has come so close to the ultimate nightmare, the state's taking of innocent life... “ Life is such a valuable thing, and since there will rarely be a guarantee of a criminal’s wrongdoings, the death penalty should not be a solution. If people are in life imprisonment and proven innocent later on, they can go on to live their life. However, imagine the hurt a wrongly executed person’s family must feel. It is similar, if not worse, pain than the families of those of murder victims.

The Death Penalty is simply not a plausible solution to dealing with serious crimes. It is expensive, isn’t sufficient punishment, and is a dangerous tool to be used in the current flawed system. Henry Skinner will be punished with a painless but costly lethal injection. His execution will be next month, the 24th of February. I hope at least they have the right man.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!