Eva S Pennsylvania

The Death of Capital Punishment

An argument for the abolition of Capital Punishment. It doesn't deter crime, it is expensive, and it is inhumane.

Dear Future President,

Considering there are 26 states that allow punishment by death, Capital Punishment should be abolished (States). The infliction of killing someone who has committed a violent act is countering violence with violence. As Ghandi once said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind” (Quotes). The death penalty is expensive, ineffective as a crime deterrent, and it is inhumane and does not reflect the moral and ethical code of most religions.

Capital Punishment is too expensive. Our government wastes millions of dollars executing people instead of putting them in jail for a lesser price. Statistics have shown it costs more to execute someone than to keep them alive. Death row costs more than life imprisonment. For example, in Maryland the cost of the death penalty totaled to around 3 million dollars for one person. In Nebraska, around 14.6 million dollars are spent to maintain their Capital Punishment system each year (Dieter). On the contrary, it costs taxpayers about 90,000 more dollars to maintain prisoners on death row than it does for regular prisoners. The funds saved by abolishing the death penalty could be used towards education and revitalizing impoverished areas of the country.

Capital Punishment is also ineffective in deterring crime. Murder is often influenced by emotions and mental illnesses rather than disregard for the law, therefore Capital Punishment does not affect criminal decisions. As a Professor at Ohio State University College of Medicine who studies the effect of Capital Punishment, Dr. Jonathan Groner stated, "It is very clear that deterrents are not effective in the area of capital punishment," (Deterrence). The Capital Punishment does not deter crime, but in many instances it increases it. In 2015 the murder rate was at 4.13 in states that do not have Capital Punishment. In states that do have Capital Punishment the murder rate was at 5.15 in 2015. In 2015, the murder rate of states with Capital Punishment was 25% higher than states that did not have Capital Punishment (Deterrence). The death penalty certainly does not deter crime, and statistics show that it may increase the murder rate.

Finally, Capital Punishment is inhumane. The definition of inhumane, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is to be, “not kind or gentle to people or animals.” Although the people sentenced to death were being inhumane, that is no reason for us to be inhumane to them. By sentencing people to the death penalty, we are mirroring the disregard for human life. The act of execution is not accepted by most religions; therefore, it does not agree with many of our most basic beliefs. In Christianity, the principle, “thou shalt not kill,” is one of the Ten Commandments (The Holy Bible). This principle is in many other religions as well, including Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The death penalty can also be in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. When executions are botched, which happens occasionally, they violate the Eighth Amendment which prohibits cruel or unusual punishment. After going through lethal injection, a man by the name of Joseph R. Wood suffered for almost two hours before he died (Capital Punishment). Allowing someone to die under extreme distress and suffering is cruel, no matter the misdeeds the person has committed.

A civilized society cannot use death as a means of punishment. Our society must move away from the barbaric notion of “an eye for an eye” mentality. Capital Punishment costs taxpayers more to execute a convicted criminal than to keep them locked up in a cell. It also is ineffective in deterring violent crime. Finally, Capital Punishment is immoral. It goes against many religious principles and some civil liberties. Our society should not harm others in retaliation for crimes committed. Capital Punishment is murder, and murder is a sin against mankind.


Eva S.

Lower Dauphin High School

Mrs. Morgret's 9th grade Honors English students

Periods 4 and 5/6 from Lower Dauphin High School

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