Tracy V. & Grace O. Oklahoma

The Death Penalty is Broken

This is a broken system and is cruel to those sentenced and to their families.

Dear Future President,

We as a country, have a very pressing issue at hand. The death penalty, is a broken system that should reconsidered in the eyes of the people of this country. We need to focus our attention to the present predicament, which is the cruelty of the death penalty in itself.

Over the years, there are many people who suffer from the different inhumane actions and methods of the justice department. These different techniques include, burning, hanging, using gas, injections, electrocutions, firing squad, and more. 2015 saw a dramatic rise in the number of people executed, at least 1,634 men and women, the highest recorded by Amnesty International since 1989. The US federal government lists 41 offenses which are punishable by death. Often the people who commit one of these crimes are not sentenced to the death penalty immediately, they go through years of trials trying to escape the grasp of the prosecutors who just want them eradicated. Multiple culprits have been recorded to have changed or gotten better my family members or therapists, especially those who only do the crime in a temporary mindset.

Several of the government's decisions about the death penalty, had engendered some doubts and inequitable thoughts. Some individuals that are on the death row were part of a family. They had brothers, sisters, children, and more. We need to deliberate the feelings and lives of each of them once the execution has taken place. Kelly Gissendaner, a person who planned the death of her husband in 1997 was to be inject for her execution in September 2015. It was only then, 18 years later, they took a hold of her actions. Kayla Gissendaner, her daughter, had pleaded for her mother’s life. She lost significant people in the past including her father and her best friend. The government knew she was also going to lose her mother soon if they were to continue the death process, which they did. Many people protested and some who knew Kelly, made a statement saying she had changed overtime in a positive way.

Another example of the unnecessary actions the justice department takes is Joseph Wood. His sentence was being handled in a deplorable way. Once they have given him 15 injections, Joseph started to cough, gasp, and snort for about an hour, struggling to breath. Executioners watched him experience this unpleasant operation for two hours.

The constitution states "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The Joseph Wood, Kelly Gissendaner story proves that the death penalty is violating that allegation. Some would argue that the victim of the guilty party were ripped from their family so the death penalty is justified, that is true they were ripped from their families, but so are the people that are executed, they have families people who care for them, we’re just as bad as they are if you think about it. Murder, by law, is wrong; so why do we kill people to show that killing is wrong?


Tracy V. and Grace O.

Classen School of Advanced Studies

Classen SAS 8th Grade English

Students from Ms. Sutton's 8th grade English classes in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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