Rachel R. Michigan

Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty

In our society, the harshest form of punishment is the death penalty, given as a capital punishment. But, it is immoral, expensive, and discriminatory; therefore it should be abolished.

Dear Future President,

A controversial issue in our current society is the issue of the death penalty, and whether it is moral as a capital punishment. It is defined as a death sentence received for committing a capital crime. There are 5 methods used to carry out the death penalty on an inmate: electrocution, lethal gas, firing squad, hanging, or lethal injection. I believe that the death penalty is a cruel type of discipline, and it should be abolished through Congress.

First, the death penalty is not moral. Even though these prisoners have perpetrated awful and heinous crimes, they don't fully deserve to be killed. In doing so, the government is just as bad as the people who have committed these crimes. Many of these criminals probably don't want to die, and they have families. Also, the death penalty violates the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments because it is a cruel and unusual punishment.

Second, there is no valid evidence to show that the death penalty is effective in preventing the perpetration of capital crimes; this has been shown through social science research. So, this shows that the death penalty is not really necessary, because it does not affect criminal behavior. Therefore, the death penalty has no real use, so why do we still have it? This is a good question to ask yourself, and if you cannot come up with a legitimate answer, than that only confirms that the death penalty is no longer needed.

Third, there are always flaws within the system, and mistakes are always being made. Research has shown that when sentencing a defendant to the death penalty, the results are often discriminatory and racist. Usually, the prisoners that end up on death row are poor, Hispanic, African-American, etc. Also, your chances of being sentenced to death are a lot lower if you're white, wealthy, have good lawyers, or all of the above. This is not only unfair, but it could lead to guiltless prisoners being killed for a crime they did not commit.

On that note, the death penalty is not the most accurate form of punishment; over 80 prisoners on death row have been proven innocent and freed. If you think about it, this is only the amount of inmates that have been proven guiltless. This means that there are potentially innocent people who have been executed by the death penalty, or are waiting to be executed. So with the potential to remove the death penalty is the potential to save innocent lives that would otherwise be lost.

Fourth, having to execute a prisoner on death row is a lengthy and costly process. This has to do with the fact that when giving a defendant the death penalty, a longer trial is involved, which results in more money. Also, the process of the death penalty itself is very expensive (as in millions of dollars for a lethal injection). With the amount of debt our country's in already, this is just an unnecessary, added expense. A better solution to this problem is to make life in prison (without parole) the capital punishment of the U.S. judicial system. It won't cost nearly as much as the death penalty, and the prisoners can be used for community service.

In conclusion, Mr./Mrs. Future President, please consider making it your mission to abolish the death penalty for the common good. It is not a moral form of punishment, it does not fulfill its purpose, and it is very expensive. Therefore, you'd be doing our country a great service by destroying this cruel penalty that so many people have fought against.


Rachel Riegel

Swan Valley School District

1st hour Monahan

American History

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