Death Penalty: Is It Worth It?

1828 words - 8 pages

Death Penalty: Is it worth it?
Capital punishment has been used throughout history. The severity of the crime has varied in this country and many other countries in which the death penalty has been carried out. We assume that the fear of receiving punishment or justice will deter murder. The fact is there isn't any reason to keep the death penalty. The reason death penalty is used instead of just life in prison is said to be a means to deter the criminal actions. Evidence shows that it doesn't deter the crime but actually is increased. The cost of trial, conviction, and ultimately carry out a death sentence costs substantially more then to keep a criminal for life in the penitentiary ...view middle of the document...

While the rejection of capital punishment first gained momentum in the 1960s, over the past two decades, every year at least one country has abolished the death penalty in its legislation, bringing the total number of countries that have abolished the death penalty for all crimes from 48 in 1991 to 96 in 2010. As of today, 139 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice and increasingly more governments have taken steps towards joining the global abolitionist trend.
The United States Supreme Court recognizes that "death is different," unique both in severity and irrevocability. As such, capital cases require that a heightened level of due process, or "super due process," be afforded the capital defendant. The capital process is similar to other criminal proceedings, with some important exceptions. Because "death is different," the steps within each of these levels differ, demanding more time and expense in a capital case.
In a 2011 study, the authors examined the history of California's death- penalty System to inform voters of the reasons for its extraordinary delays. There, they set forth suggestions that could be adopted by the legislature or through the initiative process that would reduce delays in executing death-penalty judgments. The study revealed that, since 1978, California's current system has cost the state's taxpayers four billion more than a system that has life in prison without the possibility of parole as its most severe penalty. That four billion was used to execute only thirteen people, an average of three hundred eight million per execution. In addition to the four billion dollars, California spends one hundred eighty four million per year because of the added costs of capital trials, increased security to house death row inmates, and the cost of legal representation.
Colorado paid for twenty-two new death prosecutions between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2010, but has to show for it only five death penalty sentencing proceedings, two possible future executions, and the right to continue to seek the death penalty against Montour. The cost of death prosecutions in Colorado is high, and the execution yield is extraordinarily low. Since 1980, Colorado has paid for well over 110 death prosecutions, but executed only one man. The substantial cost of the death penalty cannot be justified by the possibility of future deterrence. The percentage of social scientists who agree that the deterrence benefits of the death penalty are largely non-existent in general, are increasing.
The procedural steps in charging and imposing a death sentence in Tennessee and Indiana is a thirteen step process. All of the other death penalty states have a similar process. National average results from the lengthy process only produce about one out of every eleven sentenced inmates in an execution. All the extra costs of the death penalty only to yield nine percent being carried out is a waste of money. The convicted criminals...

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