Capital Punishment: A Falling Domino

May 15, 2017
By fbono BRONZE, New Orleans, Louisiana
fbono BRONZE, New Orleans, Louisiana
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The death penalty, or capital punishment, for violent criminals is a complex matter to discuss because one must decide whether he believes that taking a harmful person’s life or letting a harmful person live is the more just option. Around the world, opinion is split as to whether the punishment is or is not acceptable. Factors such as effective deterrence, mental illness, deservance, and religious views all must be taken into consideration. There are so many elements that make capital punishment a very controversial issue, but with facts and statistics presented it is evident why this penalty should not be used.
One major point demonstrating why the death penalty should not be used is that innocent people and victims of mental illnesses are wrongly sentenced to death each year. Statistics plainly show that nationally one out of every ten persons put to death is later exonerated, and unlike life without parole, a more reasonable punishment, the act of putting one to death is irreversible. Similarly, a small but significant percentage of criminals put to death in the past have had a mental illness and needed help and security rather than punishment for a lack of judgement that they could not control. Altogether, there are too many flaws in the legal system for it to be able to continue to make these decisions without 100 percent certainty as well as sometimes lack of consideration of a candidate’s mental state.
Another reason as to why this method of punishment should not be administered is the fact that it does not work as a deterrent against committing violent crimes. Studies have shown that this penalty has caused no decrease in murders, rape, or other horrific acts. There are many ideas suggesting why this is so, but often the fact that the legal system is unjust to begin with is postulated. In many cases, a criminal’s chance of getting out of the death penalty is only as good as the criminal’s attorney. Therefore, a common pattern will begin to show that a large number of victims of death row are also victims of poverty. This correlation leaves room for unfairness is a prime example of why capital punishment should not be used.
Many people try to argue that what a violent criminal has done is extremely inhumane and that the only fair punishment is to take their life like they took another. One might even seek empathy and consideration how the victim's family and friends felt. This point can easily be opposed because the reason murder is so abhorred is because it is selfish and shows a lack of respect for human life. Therefore, this statement proves exactly why the death penalty should not be used. Since life is so precious and valuable, killing is wrong under any circumstance and cannot be used to avenge another death. Because violence begets more violence, capital punishment simply serves as just another falling domino.
Altogether, capital punishment should not be used because it is so circumstantial, and there is no justification for the inhumane act of taking another’s life. Topics such as poverty, mental state, and accuracy all must be taken into consideration. A more humane and effective penalty is simply convicting a felon with a lifetime sentence without parole. Life in prison is a better alternative because it is reversible. If new evidence is brought to light, the sentence can be adjusted accordingly, but once a death sentence is carried out, no changes can be made. This punishment in a sense still gives the satisfaction of taking away this person’s life . In the end, when all facts of this complex issue are considered, the fact that the death penalty should not be legal is obvious.

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