Personally, I am against the use of death penalty as a way of punishing those who have committed capital crimes. The Eighth Amendment to the United States constitution bans odd and cruel punishment and I think death penalty violates this constitutional requirement. By accepting to use death penalty to punish criminals who have committed violent crimes, it is clear that the state has given itself the right to kill human beings. Death penalty should therefore be abolished because it is an unfair practice. According to Lambert, Clarke and Lambert (2004), death penalty denies citizens their civil liberties and goes against the essential values that make a democratic society. Therefore, there is great need to enact and enforce laws that seek to prevent death penalty due to a number of reasons.
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First, the death penalty used by the United States government is applied in a discriminatory manner because it mainly targets people of color. In addition, death penalty in the United States is executed depending on the economic backgrounds of criminals, their race, and the prowess of their lawyers. More blacks than whites are subjected to death penalty, even when the brutality of crime committed is the same (Lambert, Clarke and Lambert, 2004). Second, the United States spends a lot of money to organize capital punishment, a practice that has been found to be very ineffective in deterring violent crimes. The use of death penalty therefore wastes taxpayer’s money and is a threat to public safety. Instead of using death penalty against people who have committed capital crime, the United States government should consider using other methods of crime prevention such as employing more police officers, creation of additional job opportunities, and working hard to reduce rates of drug abuse among the youths (Gupta, 2013).
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Third, in most instances, innocent people are normally sentenced to death only to realize sometimes later that they did not actually commit the crimes for which they were killed. This claim is supported by rising cases of people being released from death rows due to their innocence. Since 1973, more than 100 people have been saved from facing death penalty in the United States because they were found to have not committed the crimes for which they were jailed. According to Gupta (2013), at least 10 percent of all those who are subjected to capital punishment in the United States are always innocent.
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Although I do not support the use of death penalty, I think the United States government should continue using it to punish murderers. This is because death penalty is a good method of ensuring that a murderer will not kill again and of warning others against committing murder. However, before sentencing an individual to a death row, the government must first conduct thorough investigations to confirm that the person actually committed the crime. Additionally, the death penalty should be applied to all killers without discrimination. One circumstance where I would not support the use of death penalty is when it is used to punish a person who has committed arson. Arson is a criminal behavior that can easily be corrected through rehabilitation of the criminal. Killing a person who has committed arson may not prevent others from committing the same crime, and is therefore a threat to public safety.
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