Capital Punishment in America
In America, we no longer feel that crime should go without harsh punishment. Tim Robbins’ film, “Dead Man Walking” is a movie about a man named Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) who is on death row, and the different things he goes through as he counts down his final days until execution. The movie is based on a true story. Through the movie, I was able to see the different the steps that a death row inmate goes through leading up to execution. I cannot really say that the movie was pro or anti death penalty because I think it covered both sides well. In “Dead Man Walking” the justice system was right, and they executed the right man. However, in reality our system isn’t always right and sometimes mistakes are made. Although I don’t think that capital punishment is the perfect solution to our crime problem, I do think that it is necessary. I support the death penalty because it saves our government money, I believe it’s what our founding fathers wanted, it prevents murderers from killing again, and because of it’s deterrent effects.
Executions also save our government money. According to Justice For All, an organization that supports capital punishment, life without parole cases cost from one to three million more than equivalent death penalty cases. A cell on death row costs an average of $24,000 a year, but the average cost of a cell in a maximum security prison is $75,000 a year. People that say death row inmates waste government money on appeals, forget that people who are sentenced to life without parole do too. In fact, there’s an average of $150,000-$300,000 spent per case for an inmate sentenced to life, versus $75,000 per case for inmates on death row. In the movie, Matthew Poncelet had appeals up to his last hour.
Although death row inmates get all of these appeals for their life, some people against the death penalty think it’s barbaric, and it violates the eighth amendment. According to prodeathpenalty.com, our founding fathers didn’t think of capital punishment as cruel and unusual. The Fifth Amendment states "no person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law". The Eighth Amendment states that "cruel and unusual punishment shall not be inflicted" (Allen). Since both of these amendments were passed on the same day, some would argue that executing someone for a capital offense does not qualify as cruel or unusual punishment as long as the individual has not been deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of the law. I think they were more worried about the death penalty being abused, than it being cruel and unusual.
To truly measure the effectiveness of the death penalty, you must measure the affect it has on the future actions of the accused, and in deterring people in society. The death penalty saves lives...