Capital Punishment Essay

1106 words - 4 pages

Capital Punishment
Murder, a common occurrence in American society, is thought of as a horrible, reprehensible atrocity. Why then, is it thought of differently when the state government arranges and executes a human being, the very definition of premeditated murder? Capital punishment has been reviewed and studied for many years, exposing several inequities and weaknesses, showing the need for the death penalty to be abolished.
Upon examination, one finds capital punishment to be economically weak and deficient. A common misconception of the death penalty is that the cost to execute a convicted criminal is cheaper than to place a convict in prison for life without parole. Due to the United States judicial system, the process of appeals, which is inevitable with cases involving death as the sentence, incurs an extreme cost and is very time consuming. The cost of a capital trial and execution can be two to six times greater than the amount of money needed to house and feed a prisoner for life. "Studies show incarceration costs roughly $20,000 per inmate per year ($800,000 if a person lives 40 years in prison). Research also shows a death-penalty ease costs roughly $2 million per execution," (Kaplan 2). Capital punishment is extremely expensive and depletes state governments of money that could be used for a wide range of programs that are beneficial. As Belolyn Wiliams-Harold, an author for the journal Black Enterprise, writes that county governments are typically responsible for the costs of prosecution and the costs of the criminal trial, including attorney's fees, and salaries for the members of the courtroom. All this money is spent at the expense of the corrections department and crime prevention programs, which are already is strapped for cash (Williams-Harlod 1). These "financial constraints," such as capital punishment, do not promote a healthy, commercial society, but actually cost and harm the public.
As well as being economically unsound, the death penalty is socially biased. A class system appears to be present in the United States of America this day in age, and the lower classes seem to almost be discriminated against by the higher classes. This is also true of capital punishment. Ed Bishop of the St. Louis Journalism Review , writes on how these members of a lower class can not escape the death penalty. At the height of the presidential campaign in 1992 Bill Clinton rushed back to Arkansas to sign the death warrant for a man named Rickey Ray Rector. Despite severe brain damage from a botched lobotomy in his youth, Rector was set to be executed. At the time of the murder and at the time of his execution, Rickey Ray Rector was severely retarded (Bishop 2). "It took the medical staff more than 50 minutes to find a suitable vein. Rector moaned throughout the ordeal. Finally, he tried to help the staff trying to kil him by finding vein for them. He eventually died - poor, retarded, confused, a nobody from rural...

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