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Closer Look At Death Row Essay

1802 words - 7 pages

Since the beginning of modern law, capital punishment has been present in our world. Ranging from the guillotine to lethal injection, over time people have discovered more “humane” ways to execute a convicted criminal. Opinions on the subject may vary depending on certain situations, such as the victim being a family member or close friend. Although there are solid pro-arguments for the death penalty I believe there is enough evidence that implies it should not be legal in any way, shape or form.
Imagine if you knew the day and exact time that you would die. How would you want to spend those last few hours? Answers would clearly vary greatly from person to person, but I am certain that not a single soul would choose their last few hours on earth spent in a tiny room alone. Before the execution inmates are brought to what is called the death house cell to spend their final hours. Alone with nothing to do but think about the unavoidable fate that rests ahead of them. Here they have the last meal of their choice, which I’m sure goes great with the feeling of knowing that it is the last meal of your life. They have their final phone call, and are then led down the hall to the death chamber. When in the death chamber there is no turning back. The only thing that can save an inmate at this point is a telephone pardon. So an innocent man or woman, who is now strapped to a bed waits, watches, and prays for that telephone to ring. They die waiting.
In the 1995 movie Dead Man Walking, Sean Penn played a death row inmate Matthew Poncelet. Poncelet was convicted of the murder and rape of two young teenagers. He was sentenced to the death penalty and his accomplice was not. This proves that there are ways to get out of capital punishment. Perhaps if you have enough money or you know the right people. The prosecution believed they had a better case with Matthew Poncelet than with his accomplice; therefore they were successful in sentencing him to death.
Some people argue that the death penalty is a good tool to decrease the rate of homicide. Attorney Frank Carrington states “common sense supports the inference that if, the threat of the death penalty decreases, the rate of murders increases than it may be true. But if the threat had increased, the homicide rate may decrease” (Death Penalty Arguments). Personally I think that the United States government should not use the threat of possible death as a tool to reduce crime. There are too many criminals in our world who feel no shame and have no conscience when committing terrible acts of violence. Another pro-argument is that the death penalty saves lives by stopping repeat offenses. Hugo Bedau writes “advantages outweigh the disadvantages, human activities including the penal system with all its punishments are morally justified” (Death Penalty Arguments). My reply to this would simply be how do you know the inmate will not be rehabilitated and punished more severely in prison? It is...

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