Capital Punishment Is Revenge, Not Justice

2042 words - 8 pages

Capital punishment is the government’s way of legally killing criminals. In our society, there are strict laws against killing people, so why is the government allowed to get away with it, and call it lawful?
“As an American I wanted to explore... why are we the only first world country that still has capital punishment? Is it because we're too afraid to really examine the system, or is it because we really truly believe that this is the best way to deter future crime” asks Jodi Picoult, a renowned American author. Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is a sentence given to criminals of the most despicable crimes. As a person, it’s easy to quickly judge and condemn someone for their wrongdoing, but the laws that govern this country prohibit murder, and yet, the leaders of this country break those laws every time they sentence someone to death. Eighteen states have already abolished the death penalty; it’s time for the rest to follow suit, and lock the convict away in a maximum security prison for the rest of their life.
Since 1976, when the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, 1,231 prisoners have been executed, with each death costing at least 3.5 million dollars. That's 4.31 billion dollars that could've been spent on bettering the impoverished cities that most criminals come from. The cost of capital punishment is so high due to the lengthy process that is required for the criminal's pre-trial, actual trials, one judging the innocence of the defendant and one for their punishment, both of which usually have twice the amount of defense lawyers and the equivalent of prosecutors, and the fact that capital punishment cases generally last 3-5 times longer than a typical murder case according to Richard C. Dieter, the Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center. This hefty price tag is significantly greater than a Life-With-Out-Parole sentence, which usually costs less than $200,000 per inmate (Marceau). These numbers are hard facts, and they clearly show that this unnecessary procedure is costing the US 3.3 million dollars more than needs to be spent, considering the national debt is currently hovering around seventeen trillion dollars.
Another issue that arises regarding the death penalty involves the foundation that the nation's criminal justice system was built on. As an advanced civilization, it needs to be decided which has more importance: retribution or rehabilitation. While a lot of people believe that "an eye for an eye" is a fair form of punishment, that thinking is flawed because, "The penalty for rape cannot be rape, or for arson, the burning down of the arsonist's house. We should not, therefore, punish the murderer with death" (ACLU). As a society that has been developing and evolving for thousands of years, one would think that this kind of outdated and uncivilized process of killing one another under the pretense that it's "the righteous thing to do because they acted first" would be abandoned by now....

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