Bella Illinois

Capital Punishment

The Death Penalty is unconstitutional.

Dear future President,

Currently in the United States, thirty one states have a death penalty, and only nineteen states don’t. In 2015, 24 people have been put to death, last year 35 people were killed. In 1999, the U.S. reached its peak in the number of people executed with 98 people killed. Since then, the number of deaths have been steadily decreasing yearly. Fifty-five percent of people executed were white, 34.6% black, 8.3% hispanic, and 1.7% other races. Seventy-seven percent of the total U.S. population is white and 13.2% are black. There is a total of 3,002 death row inmates as of April 1, however, some people are sentenced to death row from more than one state, so the total adds up to a larger number than the given sum of the states totaled. In 1984, the average number of months a person on death row waited before execution was 74. In 2012, the average number has increased to 190 months before execution.

The way in which the death row inmate is killed should be determined by him/herself, however it must not be painful. Too painful of an execution would cause threats of being considered torture, something already prohibited in the US. Now, different states kill the suspects in different ways. The options currently available are lethal injection, firing squad, electrocution, and hanging. Such a severe penalty should be controlled at a federal level for less biased outcomes in each state. 

 Eighty-eight percent of people believe that the death penalty isn’t a deterrent and doesn’t stop people from committing crimes because the threat of such a punishment is so harsh. Supporters of the death penalty believe that the rate of violent crimes will decrease with such a consequence. Others may support it for religious reasons. The Quran claims that taking someone’s life is equivalent to taking everyone’s life, therefore severe punishment should be put in place for those who have killed somebody.

Quality of representation in court decreases proportionally to the wealth of the accused. Inadequate lawyers and attorneys are provided to those who can’t afford a better one, lowering the person’s chance of survival. The perpetrator becomes a victim of the death penalty because the lawyers provided by the government are often underpaid, overworked, and under experienced.

We should repeal the death penalty because, as humans with the right to freedom and life, we cannot and do not have the right to take away someone else’s life. Killing is a terrible crime for many reasons, and fighting these murderers by killing them is equivalent to fighting fire with fire. Instead of solving the issue, we will create more problems, devastate more friends and families and commit a crime we don’t have the right to commit in the first place. The meaning and fulfillment of life is a concept dependent on religion and beliefs usually unique to each individual. We don’t know or all agree on the consequences of killing someone and taking away their rightful time to live. Because of these unknowns, the government has no right to interfere with someone’s precious time on earth. The death penalty is unconstitutional.

The ninth amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” When a person is no longer living, due to capital punishment, that person has been stripped of their rights entirely. Construing these rights to deny appropriate punishment (which does not contain death or torture) because of an action executed by the accused is unconstitutional. There is controversy as some believe the criminal is a danger to the surrounding people. However, there is still nothing giving the government the right to take their life. Setting examples of humane behavior is crucial to the success and development of our government, therefore capital punishment should be repealed.


Bella C