Sunday, October 3, 2010

Capital Punishment

What are your thoughts about Capital punishment?

Here's mine:

I’m against the death penalty but not out of sympathy for criminals. The death penalty isn’t an effective way to prevent or reduce crime, costs a whole lot more than life in prison, and, worst of all, risks executions of innocent people.

The worst thing about it. Errors:
The system can make tragic and irreversible mistakes. In 2004, Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas for starting the fire that killed his children. Multiple forensic experts have since found that the arson "science" his conviction was based on was actually just junk science. As of today, 138 wrongly convicted people who were sentenced to death have been exonerated. DNA, is rarely available in homicides and can’t guarantee we won’t execute innocent people. Obviously, if someone is convicted and later found innocent you can release him from prison, but not from the grave.

Crime reduction (deterrence):
The death penalty doesn't stop others from committing murder. Homicide rates are consistently higher in states and regions with the death penalty than in those without it. The most recent FBI data confirms this.

Keeping killers off the streets for good:
Life without parole, on the books in 49 states (all except Alaska), also prevents reoffending. It means what it says, and spending 23 of 24 hours a day locked in a tiny cell is no picnic. Two advantages:
-an innocent person serving life can be released from prison
-life without parole costs less than the death penalty

Costs, a surprise to many people:
The death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison. The high costs of the death penalty are for the complicated legal process, with the largest costs at the pre-trial and trial stages. The point is to avoid executing innocent people. There are tremendous expenses in a death penalty case whether or not the defendant is convicted, let alone sentenced to death.

Who gets it:
Contrary to popular belief, the death penalty isn't reserved for the worst crimes, but for defendants with the worst lawyers. It doesn't apply to people with money. When is the last time a wealthy person was on death row, let alone executed?

People assume that families of murder victims certainly want the death penalty imposed. It just isn't so. Some are against it on moral grounds. But even families who have supported the death penalty in principle have testified that the drawn-out death penalty process is painful for them and that life without parole is an appropriate alternative.

Race and the death penalty:
The key factor is actually the race of the victim. Abouyt the same number of whites and blacks have been murder victims. But 80% of all executions have been for murders of whites. That means that the murderer of a white person is about 4 times as like to be executed as the murderer of a black person.

It comes down to whether we should keep a system for the sake of retribution or revenge even though it isn’t effective in reducing violent crime, costs much more than alternatives and, worst of all, can lead to the nightmare of executing someone for a crime he didn’t commit.


  1. i think we spend too much money keeping people in jail we should execute alot more people and we should hang them its cheaper

  2. Slightly biased AGAINST the death penalty.

    But i'm against the death penalty anyway, so I don't mind.

  3. interesting and well thought out post.
    looking forward to see more of you!

  4. capitial punishment is wrong in my opinion

  5. nah, life in prison, costs a hella lot more nowadays. Consider the food, daily washing, lighting, guards and everything else just to keep the prisoners in there. it comes up more than a few bolts of electricity, and there really should be any risk of executing an innocent person if the law and jury do their jobs right, which now a days they don't...shame really

  6. it should be legal only if they are 100% sure that the person they are killing is the righ person... ups! i did a mistake

  7. 2 year CJ degree here even though i ended up turning down a CJ job. Most (not all) people who are against the death penalty do it based soley on "morals". At least you rbring to light many good arguments against the death penalty. The argument I give against people who do the morally right/wrong argument is this ...
    A Law Officer walks in on an armed robbery (or other heinous crime) ... should he be allowed to shoot the perpetrator to save lives? If you say yes then any and all moral basis against the death penalty is gone, the law officer is in that instant judge jury and executioner all in 1. Ofc logistics of death penalty cost brings in a whole other argument stand point :>
    Anyways its nice reading someone who has put some though in to their argument against the death penalty.

  8. Im all for capital punishment. We shouldnt waste thousands of dollars though keeping the inmate for several years before we do it. Should be a quick and easy process in my opinion to be cost effective.