Life Without Parole

This essay has a total of 1313 words and 12 pages.

Life Without Parole

Capital Punishment in America

Capital punishment should be viewed as the stripping away of humanity from a person. The
death penalty itself should be "executed" because of racial inequities, the concept of
murder, the possibility of error, lack of deterrence, the cost, and an overwhelmed legal
system. "The goal of capital punishment is revenge" (Introduction 1). Capital punishment
is simply an outlet for the bloodlust of the American people (Introduction 1).

The death penalty is very discriminatory when it comes to racial issues. "The death
penalty is fraught with abuses and the potential for abuse" (Moral Arguments 1). Capital
punishment is largely "divided along racial lines" (Moral Arguments 1). "A 1990 report
released by the Federal Government's General Accounting Office found a ‘pattern of
evidence indicating racial disparities in the charging, sentencing, and imposition of the
death penalty after the Furman decision'" (Moral Arguments 1). In the 1970's, Professor
David Baldus examined sentencing patterns in Georgia. He reviewed over two-thousand five
hundred homicide cases in Georgia and controlled for two-hundred and thirty non-racial
factors. His conclusion was that "a person accused of killing a white was 4.3 times more
likely to be sentenced to death than a person accused of killing a black" (Moral Arguments
1). Imagine the statistics when one adds the rest of the states in our country.

Capital punishment is murder. It really doesn't matter how you look at it. The end result
is still the same. "What is the difference between the state killing and an individual
killing" (Moral Arguments 1). It adds up to be the same end result. It is "one more dead
body, one more set of grieving parents, and one more cemetery slot. When we execute
someone, we are sending a profound message of cynicism" about the value of human life
(Moral Arguments 2). "Every time we execute someone," we are sinking to the same level as
the killer (Moral Arguments 2). "The American people have blood on their hands, and it
will stay there until we finally remove this barbaric practice from our nation" (Moral
Arguments 2).

One of the most apparent reasons the death penalty should be executed is the possibility
of error. "Researchers Radelet and Bedau found 23 cases since 1900 where innocent people
were executed" ("Innocence and the Death Penalty" 1). "Since 1973, over eighty people have
been released from death row with evidence of their innocence" (Innocence and the Death
Penalty 1). Statistics say that of the three-thousand six hundred people on death row
right now, at least one hundred of them are innocent (Capital Punishment 1). When an
innocent person is executed, the real killer is still on the streets ready to victimize
someone else (Pragmatic Arguments 1). The most important problem is that when an innocent
person is executed, they represent another human being who did not deserve to die.

"It is impossible to say with certainty whether capital punishment significantly reduces
the incidence of heinous crimes" (President's Commission on Law Enforcement and
Administration of Justice 143). The United States has one of the highest crime rates and
we are the only western nation that still allows the death penalty (Pragmatic Arguments
1). "A 1995 Hart Research Poll of police chiefs in the United States found that the
majority of the chiefs do not believe that the death penalty is an effective law
enforcement tool" (Fight the Death Penalty 3). These police chiefs rated reducing drug
abuse the highest at 31%, better economy at 17%, simplifying court rules at 16%, longer
prison sentences at 15%, more police officers at 10%, reducing guns at 3%, and expanding
the death penalty at 1% (Fight the Death Penalty 3). "The theory behind the deterrence
doctrine is flawed itself" (Pragmatic Arguments 1). Most murderers don't examine the
possibility of capital punishment before they commit a crime. The theory of deterrence
can't be proven and should be thrown out when talking about the positives of capital

The cost is also another important factor when dealing with an issue like capital
punishment. "Death row is not now, not has it ever been, a more economical alternative to
life imprisonment, " said Spangenberg and Walsh in an article in the Loyola of Los Angeles
Law Review (Pragmatic Arguments 1). "A study by the NY State Defenders Association showed
that the cost of a capital trial ALONE is more than double the cost of life imprisonment"
(Pragmatic Arguments 1). "It is estimated that tax payers spend about three million
dollars per corpse while a life sentence costs about half of that" (Death 2). A condemned
inmate stands a better chance of dying from old age than from the death penalty, because
they live on death row for so long before they are actually executed. This should show our
country and the people in it that we are spending too much money for the honor of the
death penalty (Death 2). "Ending the death penalty would mean that we could use the money
saved; roughly five and a half billion dollars to better empower the police or to fund
programs that stop killers before they kill" (Death 2).

Another factor in discussing capital punishment is the fact that we couldn't kill them all
even if we tried. "Today, the death row population has grown to more than three thousand
six hundred convicts and about three hundred prisoners per year join this group"
(Greenberg 217). Our system of capital punishment is very random and not conducted in a
frequent pattern (Greenberg 219). If we can't execute them all, then how can we justify
executing any of them (Death 1)? "Last year we executed just under one hundred people. At
that rate, it would take over thirty-six years to kill just those on death row today"
(Death 1).

"In the last six years, there have been an average of forty-six executions per year. The

previous six years saw an average of eighteen per year. The six years previous to that saw

a measly average of eight per year. Using these numbers and the rough estimate that the

number of executions doubles every six years, the next time that Haley's Comet streaks

through the sky, there will be approximately 700,000 executions that year. That would

translate to just around 1.3 executions every minute" ("Net Monkey's Death Penalty Page"


If this happens, our country might just become a country of mass executions.

The fight against capital punishment continues and will do so for a long time. If the
American people understood all of the factors against capital punishment including; racial
issues, murder, the possibility of error, weakness of deterrence, the cost, and the fact
that we couldn't kill them all if we tried, than more people might be against the death
penalty. The death penalty is based upon revenge against the murderer. All it adds up to
at the end of the day is another corpse to bury.

Works Cited
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