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Capital Punishment Should Be Abolished Essay

1167 words - 5 pages

More than 18,000 Americans have been executed since the creation of the death penalty in colonial times (University of Alabama). The sentence of death for the punishment of a murder in the United States has declined in recent years. In 2014, the number of new death sentences was 72, the lowest level in many decades. Unfortunately, the U.S. fails to recognize capital punishment as a profound human rights violation and as a frightening abuse of government power. There are both pros and cons to capital punishment, but many people are against it. The innocent people put on death row, the cost, the lack of proven deterrence and discrimination within the system are all reasons capital punishment should be abolished.

The death penalty can be and has been inflicted upon innocent people. Since 1973, over 130 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence(DPIC). If 130 people have been proven innocent, there are bound to be more people falsely convicted. In Florida, James Bain spent 35 years behind bars before he was finally freed for a crime he did not commit. How was he freed? He was freed through the help of DNA evidence that was unavailable in 1974 when he was convicted of the crime. Now, Bain is entitled to 1.75 million dollars because Florida has a law that automatically grants former inmates found innocent $50,000 for each year they spent in prison with no legislative approval needed. Next to the possible execution of innocent people, the cost of an execution is extremely high. It costs far more to execute a person than to keep him or her in prison for life. A New Jersey Policy Perspectives report concluded The Department of Corrections estimated that eliminating the death penalty would save the State $974,430 to $1,299,240 per inmate over each inmate’s lifetime. The department’s figures were based on its estimate that the cost of housing an inmate in the Capital Sentence Unit of the New Jersey State Prison death row totals about $72,602 per year( New Jersey).
U.S Attorney General Janet Reno stated on January 21, 2000 that “I have inquired for most of my adult life about studies that might show that the death penalty is a deterrent. And I have not seen any research that would substantiate that point (Reno).” Studies in Oklahoma and California failed to find that capital punishment had a deterrent effect on violent crime and, in fact, found a significant increase in stranger killings and homicide rates after the death penalty had been reinstated (Bailey). According to a survey conducted by Radelet and Lacock in 2009 of the former and present presidents of the country’s top academic criminological societies, 88% of these experts rejected the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder (DPIC).We are unable to tell if the death penalty truly has a deterrent effect because once someone is killed they can go back out into society and commit another crime; they are dead. In its Apr. 9, 2007 website...

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