Kyra D. Massachusetts

Death Penalty Letter

My opinion about the death penalty.

Dear Future President,

I am a thirteen year old in eighth grade at a small school in Boston. I am concerned about having the death penalty be a form of punishment. The death penalty is a form of punishment that not only costs our country a lot of money, it is also morally wrong. The death penalty is a faulty way of punishment, because killing people is not morally justified, and we know we often have wrongful convictions. When sentencing a person to death, we can never be confident enough that they are guilty. The president doesn't have the authority to abolish the death penalty nationally, but they can spread the word about it and eventually the states can repeal it as well. Whoever becomes President, I hope you consider this issue and help to eliminate the death penalty.

A major issue with the death penalty is the cost. The Death Penalty Information Center published an article which states that in New Jersey the death penalty has cost taxpayers two hundred million dollars since 1983. States, like New Jersey, that have the death penalty could put their tax dollars towards helping pay for schools and other necessities in their state rather than paying for housing and legal services for individuals on death row. Some might argue that by executing a serious criminal we save lives; however, investing in services to prevent future crimes, or rehabilitate criminals, would be more beneficial to the communities. The cost of the death penalty is money that could go to better and more meaningful causes. 

When the court finds someone guilty of a crime that results in the death penalty, the court is resulting in violence the same way as the criminal. Rather then being the "bigger" person, the court decides to take the easier way out and just erases them rather then working on helping them. I believe helping people that are either thinking about committing a crime or have committed one already should be given help and services to help them find peace. When someone who has been in jail is being released, our country should help them get a job and find support groups so they don't turn back to their old habits before they were arrested. If our country does this, I believe that there will be less crime and even lower recidivism rate.

Most importantly, the death penalty should be abolished because there is a likelihood that those convicted are innocent. There has been many cases where people, after they have been executed, have been found innocent. Out of three thousand inmates on death row, studies show that one hundred and twenty are innocent. For example, in a fairly recent case, Troy Davis was accused of killing a police officer with a .38 caliber revolver. Another person was also considered as a suspect, but nine witnesses testified against Davis. Later the case was reopened, and the nine witnesses admitted to lying and Davis was found innocent. Like many of these cases the prejudice against people of color was present, and rather than looking at the whole picture, they assumed Davis, a black man, committed the crime. Not only is the death penalty a faulty way of punishment it is often a racist and classist punishment that harms innocent people.

The death penalty harms innocent people, costs our country millions, is not morally justified, and, in addition, the drug that is used to put the criminal in a coma seems to not be working as well. Because fewer countries are making the drug, prisons use expired drugs which leads to problems, like potential suffering from the convicted person. No one should suffer like that, and really, no one should receive the death penalty. To end the death penalty, I encourage you to appoint Supreme Court justices that have a history of supporting a less violent world.


Kyra D. 

To find more about the death penalty you can use the following links.