Sophie Michigan

The Death Penalty

The death penalty is a flawed system and should not be used in the United States.

Dear Future President,

Capital punishment shouldn't be used in the United States because it’s a flawed system. . It’s unethical, expensive and doesn’t provide the justice people believe it does. Our country has the fifth highest number of executions, one of the six countries responsible for ninety-five percent of executions. Why do we need the death penalty? Other countries have criminal systems that work well without capital punishment. I believe prisoners should not be executed, but sentenced to spend their life in jail.

The death penalty has major financial flaws. Although some may believe that the death penalty would be cheaper than providing for a prisoner with a life sentence, this is untrue. No one wants to give money to help feed or clothe a murderer, the less of their tax money spent on these criminals the better. Why should someone be provided food and shelter when they may have taken away the life of someone else? What some might be unaware of is that on average, each prisoner on death row costs taxpayers $90,000 more than a prisoner who's not. The prisoners who are waiting for their execution day cost more to maintain. The trials involving death penalty are also much more expensive. This is because of the resources and money it takes to hold a prosecution. So, sentencing a person to death isn’t actually saving taxpayers any money.

The death penalty allows innocent people to end up on death row. Over 150 cases of death row exoneration have occurred since 1973. In 2000, a man named Claude Jones was put to death for a crime he didn’t commit. Ten years after his execution it was found that the only DNA linking him to the murder he was accused of wasn’t actually his. So, after ten years of believing his brother was wrongfully killed, Travis Jones was able to put his brother to rest where he wanted, his dying wish. While, some consider the death penalty to achieve justice, what about the people who are innocently convicted? Someone who was falsely executed was taken away from their family and their friends. These victims do not receive any justice. An innocent person dies, their loved ones suffer. Is this what the death sentence is supposed to achieve?

The death penalty is considered inhumane by many. One reason for this is that there is not a good method for capital punishment. When going about executions, the best, most ethical and effective way would be as painless, clean, and quick as possible. Lethal injection seems to be the best method and 87% of executions are done this way. The issue, that some may be unaware of, is that sometimes these procedures go wrong. Michael Wilson, Oklahoma, claimed it felt like his whole body was burning after being injected with drugs. Clayton Lockett, Oklahoma, had drugs injected into tissue opposed to his bloodstream causing lots of pain and a deadly heart attack. Joseph Rudolph Wood, Arizona, took almost two hours until he was pronounced dead. While most agree criminals deserve to be punished for their crimes, less would agree to cruel punishment. Even though they may be awful people who have done awful, unforgivable things, they are still people. Is forcing them to experience suffering with a slow painful death much better than what they did? How is this any different?

The death penalty system is heavily flawed. How can we punish someone in such an unethical, ineffective way? The death penalty costs taxpayers more money. The death penalty occasionally puts innocent people to death. Death penalty trials are much harder on families because they get entangled in the justice system for a really long time. Capital punishment makes things harder on everyone, not just the criminals. Save the lives of the innocent, provide justice to the victims, and stop unethical deaths. End the use of capital punishment.


Sophie G.

Royal Oak High School

Royal Oak Ravens

High school juniors and seniors from Royal Oak, Michigan.

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