Social Foundations of Public Issues
Capital punishment is a hot issue. On a popular news magazine television show documenting the count down to an inmate’s execution or pardon, it is life or death. In the latest Oscar nominated film about a framed man taking his few last breaths on death row while the audience and one faithful lawyer pull for his release, it is emotional magic. Written in the latest literature you were handed on the street advocating the exoneration of some freethinker the government wanted silent, it is American freedom. Capital punishment is a big issue because it is in every home in America and it is discussed in every political agenda. The sides have been drawn for decades, and every opinion and position will be praised as much as it will be despised. Because capital punishment is such a debated issue in the United States, an American politician must take a very logical position towards the subject while keeping very much in touch with the moral arguments involved. The position must contain an easily followed argument that will not betray the former advocates of its decisions and sway any individual remotely near the fence.
The most general key issue involved with capital punishment is whether or not it should be an option in the American judicial system. The array of key issues that lie under this range from states rights to moral law, with thousands of citizens piecing together their separate positions somewhere in between. The position most prosperous for a political candidate is one that rips away all previous conceptions and begins anew at answering this question: is capital punishment beneficial to the public of America? Then as this argument is formed it must address every preconceived moral claim along the way.
It is purely rational for American citizens to assume that through their taxes they foot a healthy bill for prisoners who have been convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole. An inmate needs necessities to survive, just as we all do, and a life sentence has a possibility of being a very long time to pay for these commodities. It is perfectly logical for many people across the nation to deduct independently, though all may hesitate to use such words in regard to a human life, that capital punishment is a cheap and efficient way of punishing those who have committed crimes of an awful nature towards society. It is wrong, however, to make this assumption. For state and federal courts alike, the cost of a trial that has the possibility of capital punishment as a sentence so exceeds the cost of a trial with life without parole as the highest sentence. To have capital punishment as a possibility costs much more taxpayer dollars than in a system without it.
In 1993, a study done by the Terry Stanford Institute of Public Policy showed that in North Carolina “the extra costs of adjudicating murder cases capitally outweigh the savings in imprisonment costs. As it is currently...