Death Row

February 10, 2011
Is it right for a person to be able to decide if another person is put to death? In my opinion no human being has the right to be able to decide something as crucial as death for another fellow humane being. Death is something that we can control in this situation. In some instances death is out of our control. So why would we make the conscious decision to put somebody to death?

Only certain states believe that the death penalty is right. There are thirty-five states that hold the belief that it is morally correct for law enforcement to decide the fate of other people’s lives. Alabama, California, and many more states use execution as way of punishment. The U.S. government and the U.S. military also use execution as a punishment.

There are some states that don’t allow execution as way of punishment, instead these states use life in jail, without parole, as the punishment. I believe in this method of punishment for the simple reason that it allows the criminal to pay for what he did over time. There are only fifteen states that have outlawed execution compared to the thirty-five states that allow it. Among those states would be Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and more. Believe it or not, execution costs more than having a person live life in jail.

There have been a total number of thirty-eight executions so far in 2010; since 1976 to 2010 there have been a total number of one-thousand-two-hundred-twenty-six. But you have to wonder, law enforcement has made mistakes before by putting an innocent man in prison for years. So what if a man is convicted of a crime and is put on death row then crime scene examiners find some crucial evidence that proves the man who just died, was innocent? What can they do then?

The average number of exonerations per year has increased since 1973-2000. From 1973-1999 the average for exonerations has been 3.1 exonerations per year. And in 2000-2007, there were an average of 5 exonerations per year.

The point of having used the death penalty would be to deter criminals from committing homicides. But according to a survey taken by former and present presidents of the countries top academic criminological societies, that notion has had no affect on crime rates of homicides. The survey says “88% of the presidents of these crime labs rejected the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder” (Radelet & lacock, 2009).

From that survey only 5% said yes on the question of whether the death penalty was a deterrent. And 88% said no, the death penalty was not a deterrent. So if 88% of the criminologist says that the death penalty is not a deterrent away from murder, then what is the point of having this law still in motion?

The methods used for execution seem rather horrific just hearing them or seeing them written down on paper. the methods used since 1976 have been firing squad, hanging, gas chamber, electrocution, and lethal injection. Lethal injection is what is mainly used today.

The publics’ opinion is split about half way 47% of the public prefer the death penalty and 48% of the public prefer life without parole. my opinion it is more humane to appoint life in prison than to appoint death row. I believe that god is the only one with the power to take life away when he pleases.

The death penalty even costs more than life in prison. The average cost for a prisoner just awaiting death row costs ninety-thousand per prisoner, per year. And that is not even the costs of the execution methods used. 1977-2002 we (the tax payers) spent two-hundred-fifty million dollars on carrying out the sentences of eleven prisoners that were executed. If those prisoners were sent to live life in jail the millions of dollars that were spent on those trials could have been spent on something else, like improving the cities roads, etc.

The wrongful conviction rate in California is a great example of why death row should not even be considered. In California more than two-hundred innocent men and w have been freed after it was discovered that they didn’t commit the crime they were being accused of. So why would a jury decide to put a person to death for a crime when there have been so many people let out of jail because they were innocent? Some of those freed prisoners were in jail for decades before anybody realized that they didn’t commit the crime. If prisoners who had just been let out would have been put on death row then who knows if they would be alive today.

I believe that the death penalty is cruel and uncertain because in some cases innocent men and woman are dying for acts they didn’t commit. I believe that people have no right to make that kind of decision. Life in prison without the possibility is swifter and certain punishment, and it allows for crime labs to follow up on evidence that we might not have been able to process because of the new technology that is just beginning to show up.

Next time you are asked to fill out a survey about the death penalty remember this essay, and mark no for the death penalty. Because we are the final word that determines what laws are allowed to keep running. If you would like to learn more about the death penalty go to or if you would like to learn more about life in jail without parole go to

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

K.a.t.h.l.e.e.n. said...
Feb. 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm
You mak some good points, but in my opinion, someone who commited murder in the first degree does not deserve to live comfortably on American taxpayer money. Taxpayers are paying for these killers and rapists to be fed, sheltered, excercized, educated, and keep them healthy. That is what I disagree with. Good artice, keep writing!
courtneylouise1 replied...
Feb. 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm
i totally understand where your coming from, but it actually cost more money for an inmate to be on death row for only one, than it costs for them to live life in costs 90,000 dollars a year per person for criminals to just be decided if they are to live or die.thanks for posting, and i,m glad you thought it was a good article
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