Nick B. Minnesota

Why the Death Penalty Should be Abolished

The death penalty is worse than life in prison, because it isn't economically sound.

Dear Future President,

In my opinion the death penalty should be abolished. The death penalty is worse than life in prison, because it isn't economically sound. It hasn't helped anyone or anything. It has only cost the government lots of money. Having the death penalty as an option is more expensive than keeping someone in prison for life, per Amnesty International. Killing innocent people who have been sentenced to death is also a grave problem in the U.S. Much evidence also shows that the death penalty does not prevent crime. Also, per Forbes magazine, life in prison is worse than dying, so life in prison might be less desirable than the death penalty. I support this view that the death penalty should be abolished. Life in prison is torture enough for any crime.

The death penalty does not help the county. It hurts the economy. The death penalty costs on average $1.26 million per prisoner. That is $500,000 more than it costs to keep someone in jail for life. The money that states can save could be used towards education. Better education can improve the lives of people and perhaps stop them from committing crimes resulting in the death penalty. Eliminating the death penalty could save the United States over 2 billion dollars. As an example of this, in 2016, a study in Nebraska estimated that a death penalty prosecution cost the taxpayers $1.5 million more than the prosecution of a defendant who will be given life without parole. ("Costs of the death Penalty.")

The death penalty has also done nothing to prevent crime. Since the death penalty has been reinstated, there hasn't been even one study that has proven that crime has gone down. To try and find a relationship between the death penalty and the crime rate, a study was performed on a group of states using data from 2000, following a moratorium on the death penalty. The states that did not implement the death penalty showed a drop of 28% in murders. The states that did reinstate the death penalty had a drop of 31%. The difference between these two numbers is not significant enough to show a difference. This indicates that the death penalty does not prevent crime. If it did prevent crime, there would be a significant difference showing more murders in states without the death penalty. (Tyree, "Does the Death Penalty Deter Crime?")

“You can release an innocent man from prison, but you can’t release him from the grave,”according to Scott Langley. Since 1973, 10% of all people in death row have been set free. This shows that we have made grave mistakes giving innocent people the death penalty. For example, Kirk Bloodsworth in 1984, was convicted of raping and killing a young girl. DNA tests proved his innocence. Some people have been executed, even though their guilt was in doubt. For example, Gary Graham was sentenced to death based only one witness. There are many causes that can send an innocent man to the death chamber, such as bad lawyers, racial bias, and false confessions. ("Innocence").

More than half of the U.S. still uses the death penalty. Thirty three out of fifty states use the death penalty. California leads with 741 deaths and Florida is way behind with 394. Many people would rather have the death penalty than life in prison, because most people would rather die than have to live in prison. Life in prison is considered more torturous. According to Forbes magazine, “If you really want to kill someone, give them life without parole. It’s worse than dying.” ( Erb, "Considering The Death Penalty: Your Tax Dollars At Work.")

According to the data, economically, the death penalty is a waste of the government's money. In addition, statistics show that the death penalty does not prevent crime. Also, innocent people are falsely accused and killed. For the guilty person, the death penalty can be much better than life in prison, since you don't have to live in a horrible maximum security prison. In general, I think that the death penalty should be abolished based on the information that I have obtained on economics, crime prevention and the chance that an innocent person could be killed. ("Is Life in Prison without Parole a Better Option Than the Death Penalty?").

Thanks you for your time and consideration on this matter


Nick Bittner