The Death Penalty Argumentative Essay

This essay has a total of 2662 words and 8 pages.

The Death Penalty


Some people are for the death penalty, and some are not. I hope after reading my essay you
will have a better understanding of what the death penalty is and how it works, and maybe
you too will change your views and ideas about the death penalty as I did. The earliest
historical records contain evidence of capital punishment. A Babylonian King, Hammurabi
that lived in the first half of the 18th century BC mentioned the death penalty in the
code of Hammurabi, (a collection of laws and edicts). Many Bibles such as the Youth Walk
Devotional Bible, mention death for the penalty for many different crimes, ranging from
murder (Exodus 21:12 "Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to
death.") to fornication (Deuteronomy 22:22, "If a man is found sleeping with another man's
wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.") In the 11th century AD,
the death penalty was not used in England, but torture and interrogation were often used,
but in many cases it ended in death. In America, before the Revolution, the death penalty
was used for a variety of different crimes such as treason, murder, larceny, burglary,
rape, and arson. African Americans were usually sentenced to death for small petty crimes
that if a white person had committed they would have been punished less severely, if even
at all. Effort to abolish the death penalty was fought for many years until the 18th
century, in England and America, the Quakers led the reform movement. In 1847, a few
countries such as Venezuela and Portugal began to abolish the death penalty, and started
spreading all throughout the United States. The first known execution was in the United
States, Daniel Frank from Virginia. Daniel Frank was put to death in 1622 for the crime of
theft. Obviously, the death penalty has been used for many centuries. The question seems
to be, is the death penalty really effective? A Fundamental question raised by the death
penalty are whether the death penalty is really effective, or is it more effective than
the alternative of long-term imprisonment. According to scientific studies, the studies
have failed to show any evidence that the death penalty deters crime better than other
punishments. The Bureau of Justices stated that the death penalty makes police officers
and guards much safer, police officers and prison guards are not murdered as often in the
U.S. states without the death penalty than in states where the death penalty exists. Is
the death penalty just a punishment for homicide? Recent crime figures from abolitionist
countries fail to show that abolition has harmful effects. Abolition is a term for the
abolishing of the death penalty in countries that either do not have a death penalty for
crime or extradition agreements with other countries. In Canada the homicide rate per
100,000 people fell from a peak of 3.09% in 1975, the year before the abolition of the
death penalty for murder, to 2.41% in 1980, and since then it has remained relatively
stable. In 1993, 17 years after abolition, the homicide rate was 2.19% per 100,000 people,
27% lower than in 1975. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports Division state that in the United
States in 1995, states that have abolished the death penalty averaged 4.9 murders per
100,000 people while states still using the death penalty averaged 9.2 murders. These
statistics emphasize that in absolutely no state has the number of murders diminished
after legalizing the death penalty. If our states and countries are using the death
penalty and believe its justice, why is it that more than half of the inmates on death row
is of the black race? What kind of justice is that? The race and the crime seem to play a
huge role in the determination of the sentencing. For example if a black male had stolen
like a candy bar out of a store, and got 10 years, that proves its more than likely an
issue of race than the crime. But also if a black man murders someone, the death penalty
is probably going to be a sentence, and a sentence of justice in my opinion. In a lot of
state death penalty cases, the race of the victim is much more important than the prior
criminal record of the defendant, or the actual circumstances of the crime. A study by the
Bureau of Justice stated that more than one-half of people the people on death row are of
color. Race and the crime are a very important factor in determining who is going to be
sentenced to die. Several studies have been shown that the role of race in the death
penalty, they include a study in 1990, a report from the General Accounting Office that
stated that in 82 of the cases reviewed the race of the victim was found to influence the
punishment for the crime. A black man who kills a white person is 11 times more likely to
receive a death sentence than if a white person kills a black stated John Monty of the
Bureau of Justice. And of blacks, which kill blacks, they even have less to worry about;
it's almost like saying, oh, well, he needed killing anyhow! In 1991, in Texas, blacks
made up 12% of the population, but 48% of the prison population and 55.5% of those on
death row are black says the death penalty information center. Since 1988, the federal
government has reviewed 92 death penalty cases. Of these cases; 56 defendants were black,
11 were Hispanic, 5 were Asian, and 20 were Caucasian. From 1930 through 1989, 3,939
people were executed in the United States, and 54% of them were black. Since 1972, 82% of
those executed were convicted of killing white people. Because of the issue of race and
other factors, the death penalty is very controversial. Throughout history, the death
penalty has always been controversial. Some people say that the death penalty brings
justice to the victim or the victim's family, or it makes them feel at ease to know that
the person who commits a horrible act of crime will get just punishment for what they did.
A researcher from Florida, Don Cabana did a study of Year-by -Year Chart of Executions.
When the people of Florida were asked whether they favor the death penalty or life without
parole, the figure dropped to 70%, and then to 60% when restitution is added to the
question. For the 15-year period in which California carried out an execution every other
month (1952 to 1967), murder rates increased 10% annually, on average. Between 1967and
1991, when there were no executions in California, the murder rate increased 4.8%
annually. The study also found that in a four-month period of time the average monthly
number of homicides in California was 306. According to Richard Dieter it costs up to
three times the amount to keep a prisoner on death row than it would be to keep them in
prison for the rest of their lives. Capital cases cost at least 2.6 million more per
execution in some states. The expense comes from the long drawn out appeals process that
we are giving our criminals, and the court appointed attorneys that the poor are
receiving. According to a Gallup poll in 1995, 77% favor the death penalty as a punishment
for murder. However, if they are given the option of life imprisonment with no possibility
of parole, then the things change a bit: only 50% would take the death penalty, while 32%
would take the life imprisonment. The funny thing is that the more education you have, the
less likely you are to support the death penalty: 50% of people surveyed who had
post-graduate education favored the death penalty as opposed to 37% of the people who had
no college education who favored it. There are people today that insist that the death
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