The Death Penalty, A Reason For Recidivism

1053 words - 4 pages

The legal definition of the death penalty is a sentence of execution for the crime including murder and some other capital crimes; serious crimes, especially murder, which are punishable by death. The earliest proof of the death penalty dates back to the Eighteenth Century B.C. in the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon in which 25 crimes were codified. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment, and stated in the eighth amendment would mean it was unconstitutional. The opinion of current methods of execution such as hanging, electrocution, and facing a firing were thought to be painfully slow, some sort of torture. In 1976 the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision they had found a new quick and painless method, death by lethal injection. Since capital punishment has been reinstituted the issue has been discussed in every view. One issue discussed in the criminal justice profession is whether or not the death penalty prevents recidivism. Is the death penalty a more effective deterrent than long term imprisonment, it has been debated for decades by scholars, policy makers and the general public.
Theoretical explanations included the social, political and economical function and how it ties to capital punishment. Socially and more specifically culturally “…the ways in which the practices of state killing and the images, ideas and sensibilities that surround these practices function to shape Americans attitudes towards authority, towards responsibility and towards those social and racial groups from whom capital offenders are most often drawn” (Garland). Some people believe that race and ethnicity have to do with the likelihood of someone receiving the death penalty. According to the U.S. Department of Justice considering the fact that 13 percent of the nation’s population is African Americans, they make up almost 50 percent of those who sit on death row. And even though only three people have been executed under the federal death penalty in the modern era, two of them have been racial minorities. Next, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had the biggest argument against the death penalty they said it is handed out in a biased, racially disparate manner. Within the group of these individuals there are more women than men and they are typically in their twenties. It is said that poverty breeds crime, and the poor are disproportionately minority, then it must follow that minorities will be overrepresented among criminals. Capital punishment in the United States is administered in an economically discriminatory way (Johnson). The wealth disparity between those murderers who live and those who die constitutes a serious constitutional challenge to the permissibility of the death penalty. Furthermore, our society fails to ensure some impression of economic equality within this harsh penalty and is inconsistent with the Eighth Amendment. Our U.S. Supreme Court has not...

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