02 November, 2018
Capital punishment is a widely accepted belief that legally authorizes killing of someone as punishment for a crime. “At year-end 2016, a total of 32 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) held 2,814 prisoners under sentence of death”( Capital Punishment in the United States). Although only 36 of those prisoners were actually executed the long process and the feelings associated with facing the reality that you would be sentenced to death shouldn’t be a feeling anybody should experience. Morally capital punishment shouldn’t even be a option to be considered when discussing a punishment for a crime. Another human being should not have the authority or be allowed to decide when another human has made a mistake so severe unintentionally or intentionally resulting in a death sentence. Errors in judgment cannot be afforded when discussing the potential death of another human being and no decision made by a judge to put a inmate to death will gain 100% approval from everyone involved. Also capital punishment has been shown statistically to be geared towards certain races such as African Americans which brings in the intentional bias of judges to be more lenient toward certain people. “ African Americans are 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 42 percent of prisoners on death row” (2018). With this being said, while the death penalty reduces crime, the death penalty cannot be reversed if inmates are wrongly convicted because the death penalty is racially bias and the death penalty is very evidently unconstitutional.
I will fund the end of capital punishment through rallies and protest that will bring awareness to the injustices surrounding the death penalty. I will implement the end of capital punishment by the proposal of a bill that in turn may become a law. It must be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the President before the bill officially becomes a law but after that it officially the end of the death penalty. Some opposition to the end of the death penalty is that arguably it will be more expensive for the government to fund these convicts in the prisons they are being held that have little to no chance of being re-assimilated into society than to just make these criminals pay for their crimes and be put to death. Although this may be true, without the proper judgment for someone to decide that a person is not able to change and not give them a chance at life has a lot of fault in it and has room for bad judgment. Intentional bias by the judge by any factor may also deter judgment and falsely determine if a criminal should be put to death. The abolishment of the death penalty will be a step forward into a future without the need for these types of punishments.
Capital punishment for as long as it has been around can be undoubtedly be classified as a racist act geared towards one race rather than the other. “Of the over 18,000 executions that have taken place in this country’s history, only 42 involved a white person being punished for killing a Black person.”("Six Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty"). In this statistic highlighted by “The Campaign To End The Death Penalty”, it is shown that around .3% of the executions that took place have been on a white man. This would mean over the history of this nation 99.7% of the time if a inmate is to be sentenced to death it would be a man of color over a white man. Although arguments can be made that the proportion of white males on death row are very similar to that of a man of color the ratio of the population of the races tell a different story. Whites account for around 77% of the population in the united states while blacks account for about 13%. ("U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: UNITED STATES" 2017). “Our death row population is more than 40% black -- nearly three times the proportion of the general population.” (O'Malley "Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments - Death Penalty - ProCon.org" 2015). This would mean that while blacks and whites both have around a 42% share in the percentage of inmates on death row based on the density of the populations of the races in America whites should have a undoubtedly higher percentage of inmates held on death row than blacks but because of the system in place, racial bias has a way of clouding judgment and causing these numbers.
Constitutionally the death penalty is not lawful. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” In many cases involving the lethal injection of a drug inside a inmate to cause a painless death, errors made by the medical team have resulted in many inmates in excruciating pain that lead to a very long and painful death. In a study conducted by British medical journal The Lancet, a team of experts found that “in 43 of the 49 executed prisoners studied the anesthetic administered during lethal injection was lower than required for surgery.” ("Six Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty"). This would mean that the inmates would feel the pain very much as well as if no anesthetics were used. For example December 13, 2006 “Technicians wrongly inserted the needles carrying the poisons that were to kill Diaz. The caustic chemicals poured into his soft tissues instead of his veins, as intended. This left Diaz struggling and mouthing words in pain for over 34 minutes, when a second set of needles were inserted. The county medical examiner found 12-inch chemical burns inside both of his arms after the execution.” ("Six Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty"). This event led Florida’s Republican Governor and death penalty enthusiast Jeb Bush to issue an executive order halting executions in the state. ("Six Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty"). These extreme cases in where the executed was basically tortured to death has lost the support of many in favor of the death penalty.
Errors in judgment cannot be afforded when handling the life of another human being. The death penalty is a permanent answer to a problem that still may need answers to. Every year inmate ,in states where the death penalty is still legalized, are exonerated and released into society because of a false accusation or a fault on part of the officials. According to a study done by the Nation Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, as of October 2015, 156 individuals held on death row were found to be innocent and released. “In other words, for every 10 people who have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S., one person has been set free.” ("Innocence" 2018). Statistically this would mean that there is a 10% chance that the life of the individual had been wrongly convicted possibly causing a meaningless death. “You can release an innocent man from prison, but you can't release him from the grave." -Freddie Lee Pitts, Florida Death Row Survivor. ("Innocence" 2018). This quote by Pitts is a first hand account of the possible death of an inmate that did not deserve to be put to death or even considered for it at all.
The death penalty is an outdated system that dates back far beyond the establishment of America as it is as of now. It punishes criminals by death for crimes deemed sever enough. Presently inmates who have done severe crimes must be held on a death row list where on average the court case can take 15 years before it reaches a juries ears. ("U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: UNITED STATES" 2017) In conclusion the death penalty has many faults in the implication of the system, the procedure, and the biased manner to which they approach the issue. With the abolishment of the death penalty the country as a whole can benefit from the decreased costs of having to pay through the tax payers. “Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population.” ("Costs of the Death Penalty" 2018). With the money saved by the government from abolishing the death penalty, more apparent issues can be addressed propelling our country forward instead of wasting our own money to put a citizen of our country to death.
“Capital Punishment in the United States, 2016 - Statistical Brief.” Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=6246.
“Costs of the Death Penalty.” Millions Misspent: What Politicians Don't Say About the High Costs of the Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center, 2018, deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death- penalty.
Langley, Scott. “Exonerations of Innocent Men and Women.” Innocence | National Coalition To, NATIONAL COALITION TO ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY, www.ncadp.org/pages/innocence.
O'Malley, Martin. “Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments - Death Penalty - ProCon.org.” Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?, 6 Nov. 2015, deathpenalty.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002000.
“Six Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty.” Six Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty | Campaign to End the Death Penalty, 2018, www.nodeathpenalty.org/get-the-facts/six-reasons-oppose-death- penalty.
“U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: UNITED STATES.” Census Bureau QuickFacts, www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045217.