The death penalty is one of the most contentious aspects of the American justice system. The United States is the only Western nation to execute the number of condemned prisoners that it does. It is consistently in the top five of worldwide nations in the measurement of justice system executions. Some see the death penalty as the only means to extract justice for victims. Others see it as a morally reprehensible act where a second wrong is committed in order to make something right. Here are some unbiased pros and cons to take a look at this issue more in depth.
What Are the Pros of Abolishing the Death Penalty?
1. There Would No Longer Be Innocent Live Lost
Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, more than 300 people have been exonerated of capital crimes. It is estimated that up to 4% of the people on death row right now are actually innocent of the crime they were convicted of committing. By abolishing the death penalty, we guarantee that innocent lives are not lost from capital punishment.
2. It Could Improve The Murder Rate
In all of the states that have eliminated the death penalty as an option for every crime, the murder rates are either at national averages or below. The states with the highest murder rates tend to be the states that have the strictest enforcement of capital punishment laws.
3. It Could Save Us Money
The cost of capital punishment are higher in every category, from the investigation of the crime to its prosecution to its final enforcement. Although the long-term costs of supporting a convict in prison for life for over potentially 70 years can add up, the upfront costs of the capital punishment conviction are always higher.
What Are the Cons of Abolishing the Death Penalty?
1. It May Not Deter The Choice To Commit A Crime
The only thing that people fear more than taxes is death. Having a sentence of life imprisonment for a crime that is committed is not as much of a deterrent to some people as the threat of being killed for a decision that they make.
2. It Could Allow For More Murders In The Future
By executing a convicted murderer, society becomes better protected from future murders that would be potentially caused by this person. All it would take is a prison escape under a life sentence for a convicted murderer to be able to commit another crime within the general public.
3. It Eliminates The Possibility Of Retribution
Retribution is not revenge. Retribution is to provide a just punishment for an action that was taken. Protection, deterrence, and even rehabilitation are not held in the same status as retribution. This is because a convicted criminal pays a price that is equivalent to the harm that was done to us victim.
Abolishing the death penalty is not an easy decision to make. Whenever a crime is committed, some form of justice must be handed out to protect society. By weighing the pros and cons of this subject, we can come together to find the best solution that works for everyone.