The death penalty, capital punishment, debate, lethal injection, firing squads, electric chairs, hanging, innocent people, the death row
Capital punishment, which is the act of killing a criminal for a terrible crime, is a controversial subject in the United States. Over the course of history, public opinion has wavered on whether or not the death penalty should be administered. Decades ago in the 1970's, for example, public opinion was against the death penalty and it was even ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (Mitchell 23). This decision was overturned, however, and today many Americans agree that the death penalty is justified. Advocates for capital punishment believe that it helps deter criminals from committing murder, and those against it believe that this effect does not exist and that capital punishment is costly and ineffective. In order to more fully grasp the questions surrounding the death penalty, it is worth looking at both sides of the debate. Once both sides are properly analyzed, an individual will quickly realize that the death penalty is cruel and immoral, and that it should be abolished.
[...] Advocates for the death penalty argue that it is important for the government to act forcefully and demonstrate to families that it is concerned over the death of loved ones and is willing to administer the most serious form of punishment. Those who are not in favor of the death penalty also have many strong arguments for their case. The question of whether it is worth putting an innocent person to death for the sake of applying the death penalty to others is a major issue that should be addressed. [...]
[...] Changing Nature of Death Penalty Debates.” Annual Review of Sociology 26 (2000): 43-61. Rapaport, Elizabeth. Death Penalty and Gender Discrimination.” Law & Society Review (1991): 367-383. Stubbs, A.L. Clemency, The Future of the Death Penalty. New York: Clemency Books Williams, Mary. Capital Punishment. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc, 2000. [...]
[...] Accessed April Geraghty, Thomas F. “Review: Trying to Understand America's Death Penalty System and Why We Still Have The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-) 94.1 (Autumn 2003): 209-238. Haag, Ernest van den. Ultimate Punishment: A Defense.”Harvard Law Review 99.7 (May, 1986): 1662-1669. Mitchell, Hayley. The Death Penalty. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc Radelet, Michael & L. Marian J. Borg. [...]
[...] These studies as well as other research demonstrate that the death penalty is being applied unfairly. One study even proved that, after taking account of 230 other variables, the odds of getting the death penalty for killing a white person in Georgia was 4.3 times higher than the odds of receiving the death penalty for killing a black person ((Radelet & Borg 50). Various inequities exist in this system, such as the fact that many lower-income minorities do not have the money to hire a good attorney, and are therefore left to deal with a lawyer who does not represent the client to his full potential. [...]
[...] Many of those against the death penalty claim that execution is too harsh and inhumane a punishment. There have been many cases in which individuals on death row were found not guilty on new evidence and released. Additionally, there is evidence indicating the capital punishment translates to racial discrimination. According to Stubbs, minorities, especially African Americans, are put to death much more frequently than white Americans (Stubbs 63). This statistic is not proportional with the ethnicity and number of people who commit murders. [...]
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