The debate on the constitutionality and the need for the death penalty in the united states and globally has polarized the country as different schools of thought have come up to support the capital punishment while others have sharply criticized this action (Reynolds, 2015). Another group of individuals has been focusing on the means claiming that some techniques applied are inhumane hence proposing lethal injection in the United States. However, the fact remains that there is never a better way to kill a person; everyone has a right to live, and therefore the conversation should no longer be based on the method of execution but whether the death penalty should be allowed on not. Nevertheless, this article takes the position that this punishment should be abolished and provides some of the reasons to support this argument. Before continuing with discussion further, it is imperative to observe that there has been a subsequent decline in public support for capital punishment due to reasons such as; the innocence of the victims, poor lawyers, it is racial bias and takes long to implement among others (Beale, 2014).
Reasons for the Death Penalty
First of all, it argued that death penalty puts the lives of the innocent defendants at risk. According to Williams (2016), there is nothing that has a more significant impact on the peoples’ attitude as executing an innocent person through a court sentence (Williams, 2016). The constitution is supposed to protect every American, and recent studies have indicated that since 1973 over 160 people have been exonerated from death penalty (Ahmed, 2014). This statistics is clear evidence that if the lawyers representing the defendant were not strong enough, these people could have been killed for the crime they did not commit (Reynolds, 2015). Further, information from the department of justice shows that over 3,000 people are currently facing death charge all over the United States. Additionally, researchers estimate that 4% of the individuals sentenced to death were innocent of the charges (Beale, 2014). From the data presented, it will be fair to abolish the death penalty to prevent the killings of these innocent people and instead come up with a better sentence that does not necessarily result to loss of another life.
Secondly, there are other better options available for administering justice to the gross offenders. Punishment such as life without parole (“LWOP”) has proven to work for dangerous individuals where are feared that can pose a security threat to civilians on their release back to the society (Beale, 2014). In the past, most jurors opted for the death sentence to ensure that gross convicts remained in jail not to harm any innocent citizen again. However, most states have already given the jurors the green light to apply the LWOP judgment thereby eliminated the threat that may be caused by freeing the convict. Moreover, 52% of Americans tend to support the idea of replacing the capital punishment with the LWOP (Ahmed, 2014). In fact, 11% of those people supporting the death penalty agreed that LWOP was a better alternative (Williams, 2016). The department of justice should, therefore, consider putting aside the death penalty and instead consult with the Congress to set legislation that will allow for the LWOP sentence for gross offenders.
The other point here is that death penalty teaches the condemned nothing. The primary purpose of the judicial process in every country apart from ensuring that justice is achieved is to initiate the rehabilitation process to an individual (Williams, 2016). The convict should learn a personal lesson from the sentence and maybe live to tell the story; however, capital punishment does not give room for such provisions (Beale, 2014). It is therefore not only cruel but also an ineffective way of administering justice. Moreover, taking another person’s life does not compensate for the other lost life or lives, and therefore it is just worsening the situation by increasing the number of deaths and aggrieved families in the country.
The fourth reason for banning the death penalty is that it is hypocritical. It is absurd that a nation will denounce the crime of murder by committing precisely the same act (Williams, 2016). If we claim that no one has the right to take the life of another person, then it implies that even the justice department should not have that right (Ahmed, 2014). Capital punishment sounds like championing the right life by taking from others and therefore the jurors should teach us what we should not do by not doing the same thing (Reynolds, 2015). Further, the capital punishment has taken racial and religious perspective in a significant number of circumstances. It is argued that Race and place and religion determine who lives and who dies (Beale, 2014). It is has been suggested that a person who kills a white is more likely to get the death sentence compared to the one who murders an African American. Moreover, prosecutors from other religions and countries have higher tendencies for pursuing death punishment than others (Williams, 2016). Thus, the only way to bring fairness in the justice department is by dispatching this option from the constitution.
Another argument against the capital punishment is that it goes against almost every religion (Ahmed, 2014). Both Christians and Muslims believe that only God has the power to take a person’s life for He is the one that gives it (Beale, 2014). Therefore, from the religion point of view, no one should have the power to kill or determine the fate of another individual’s life. Finally, the incompetency of lawyers representing the defendants has cost most people their lives. These people fail to exploits all the possible arguments to exonerate the accused thereby leaving them to the mercy of the prosecutors and the judges (Williams, 2016). The government should, therefore, ensure that everyone has access to competent lawyers for fair trial and exclude the death sentence from the options available for the justice departments all over the United States.
In summary, one can deduce from the discussion that there are numerous reasons to justify the need for the abolition of death penalty. Apart from just facing a decline in public support, capital punishment has led to the killing of innocent people and is likely to result in the demise of many individuals for the crimes they did not commit. Additionally, most convicts are not exposed to proper defense hence they do not undergo a fair process. Furthermore, the death sentence is against many religions thus raising the question of its morality. Based on all these arguments against the death penalty, I stand against it.
Ahmed, M. (2014). Why Execute Death Penalty, or Not. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2510836
Beale, S. (2014). Public Opinion and the Abolition or Retention of the Death Penalty Why Is the United States Different? SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2488175
Reynolds, J. (2015). Reflections on Death Penalty Evaluations: “How Can You Sleep At Night?” Psychiatric Annals, 45(12), 626-629. http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/00485713-20151030-03
Williams, K. (2016). Why and How the Supreme Court Should End the Death Penalty. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2734250