The Solution to the Death Penalty
There was not a time where there weren’t any criminals killing, stealing, exploiting people, and even selling illegal items in the United States of America. Of course, America will not tolerate the crimes done by those who believe they are above the law. Once the convicts are caught they are taken into justice. In the past, these criminals are often faced with a punishment that meets their end. That punishment would be the death penalty. Those in the past had no regard for mercy due to their undeveloped image on how precious a life can be. Now in the twenty-first century, where needless killing does not seem to fit society are accepting equal value of every life, from rich to homeless. A point in discussion is about the lives of the offenders in death row and how they are not treated as equal. They live in a society where lives have value, but yet they are still condemn to death. America is striving to be morally right, but being one of that majorly uses the death penalty, the nation will not be successful. “The death penalty’s stronghold is in the Middle East and North America, where death penalty statutes exist in 90 percent of countries” (Anckar, “Why We Choose” 10). Capital punishment does not just affect the convict, but everyone else connected to them, including the one who executes the penalty. Due to the many negative aspects of executing a human life, capital punishment should be prohibited from being used in the United States of America.
Research found that the first recorded execution was in North America which was 1608, Jamestown. “ The first recorded execution in the new colonies was that of Captain George Kendall in Jamestown Colony of Virginia in 1608. Kendall was executed for being a spy for Spain” (DPIC “Facts”). Back in the colonial days, there was only one method of execution. That type is hanging, where the criminal’s neck would have a rope around it and they would hang on their neck leading to either broken neck or strangled by the rope. It is believed that hanging was the one of the brutal ways to die, as it is slower than the methods used today. “Until the 1890s, hanging was the primary method of execution used in the United States. Hanging is still used in Delaware and Washington, although both have lethal injection as an alternative method of execution.” (DPIC , “Facts”) As America grew, they developed a few more ways of executing the prisoners sentenced to the death penalty, their purpose was to ensure the quickness of death. They knew that hanging rarely killed the prisoners instantly. The state of New York found another way to execute human beings in the late 1880s. This method was hoped to become a more considerable to the pain in the process of being executed for the inmates on death row. This method would be the electrocution. The way of killing inmates was a strange way, as the inmates is strapped in many areas of the body. The chest, arms, legs and groin would be strapped with a leather belt, then a metal cap is attached to their head. The whole time the inmate is blindfolded and when strapping the prisoner is done, the execution team goes to the observing room. The warden of the prison the inmate is held in, would signal when a lever is drawn. It would between 500 and 2000 jolts, it would shock the inmate for 30 seconds. The doctor would check after, the body is cooled down to check if the inmate is dead or not. If the prisoner is not dead, the process would continue until they are dead. “Seeking a more humane method of execution than hanging, New York built the first electric chair in 1888 and executed William Kemmler in 1890. Soon, other states adopted this execution method. Today, electrocution is not used as the sole method of execution in any state. Electrocution was the sole method in Nebraska until the State Supreme Court ruled the method unconstitutional in February 2008.” (DPIC, “Facts”)
The next method of execution is a method that was also used in World War 2 to execute younglings and elderly people in concentration camps. That method is the Gas chamber, there have been a small count of inmates being executed with this method. A couple of the states today, still use the gas chamber, but now as a solely main method. It would be used if the main method of executing people cannot happen due to lack of resources. This method would be the least humane way to kill a human being. The gas chamber consist of the inmate in a airtight chamber, strapped on a chair with sulfuric acid beneath them. There’s a stethoscope attached to the inmate, so a doctor would have tell if the inmate is dead. “ For execution by this method, the condemned person is strapped to a chair in an airtight chamber. Below the chair rests a pail of sulfuric acid. A long stethoscope is typically affixed to the inmate so that a doctor outside the chamber can pronounce death. Once everyone has left the chamber, the room is sealed.” (DPIC, “Facts”) Research also found from this source that some of the inmates are said to scream due to the agonising pain caused to them. It also found that some of the inmates tend to have their eyes pop. “the inmate does not lose consciousness immediately. According to former San Quenton, California, Penitentiary warden, Clifton Duffy, “At first there is evidence of extreme horror, pain, and strangling. The eyes pop. The skin turns purple and the victim begins to drool.” ( DPIC “Facts”)
The next method of execution that was used in the history of the United States, was the firing squad. The firing squad included soldiers, a few of them standing in a straight line with rifes. The prisoner would be tied to the post, blindfolded and unable to move. The prisoner would not know when the soldiers would shoot him dead. This method of execution is rarely used today, but regardless it is still used in the states of Utah and Oklahoma today. The last method is the main method of execution that is used in many states, if they don’t have the resources to use this method then they would resort to the ones that is previously described. The main method of execution in every states in the United States is lethal injection. It would involve the prisoner to be strapped to a table. The executioners would have what they call a three drug protocol. The first drug is harmless, which is saline solution. It would be injected into the prisoner as soon as they was strapped onto the table. The next two drug would not be injected until the Warden gives the signal to execute the prisoner. When the signal is given, the prisoner would first be injected with the second drug, sodium thiopental. This drug is anesthetic that puts the prisoner to rest. The next drug is injected soon after , which is pancuronium bromide. This paralyze the prisoner’s muscles and stops their breathing. The prisoners died from the overdose of anesthetic and cardiac arrest while asleep. “..the inmate is injected with sodium thiopental – an anesthetic, which puts the inmate to sleep. Next flows pavulon or pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes the entire muscle system and stops the inmate’s breathing. Finally, the flow of potassium chloride stops the heart. Death results from anesthetic overdose and respiratory and cardiac arrest while the condemned person is unconscious.”( DPIC “Facts” ) These methods are believed by the justice system to bring a swift, painless end for the criminals who have commit crimes against the United States. But some people argue that, no it does not. The death penalty makes the prisoner suffer, in every shape of form. It brings the prisoner mental and physical suffering, it brings the executioner mental suffering as they just ended another person’s life. It would also bring a family suffering as they watched a person get killed. “Death is today an usually severe punishment, unusual in it’s pain, in it’s finality, and it’s enormity. No other existing punishment is comparable to death in terms of physical and mental suffering” (“The Death Penalty” 40 – 41)
For a long time, the debate of capital punishment has been argued over and over through the 1900s. Both point shows a point in every category, meeting a logical explanation. But here’s why it is important to be against the death penalty in the United states. The first argument would be the morality of death penalty. People who are with the death penalty say yes, it is morally right. People with the death penalty say that the murderer knew what was coming and they must respect the decision of the convict’s action by carrying out the punishment. “The death penalty honors human dignity by treating the defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own destiny for good or for ill; it does not treat him as an animal with no moral sense” (ProCon “Should”) Now the argument against the death penalty says otherwise. The argument states that no human being should have their life in the hands of another human being, for ill or for justice. The life of the human belongs to the judgement of the Gods, they say. No human is allowed to take another life of a fellow human being, whether they commit a crime against humanity. “We play a role of God by judging who will die and who will live…” (Dutta, “Kill” 8) To add on the morality argument of the death penalty, one of the most respective and leading religion in the world condemned the death penalty. The Catholic Church has also fought the idea of executing human beings for the name of justice. They think it is the incorrect way of carrying out justice for the nation, it does not fit American society. “The church teaches that the death penalty should not be used unless there is no other way to protect innocent life in society – a situation that in a modern American society is simply unimaginable” (Recinella “Ending” 14) As said about the ways of the church, killing someone is not justice. It’s just a matter of unmoral revenge.
As naturally known, the people of the United States have rights. The people have enough rights to have free will over their lives. Our rights were written long ago, when the United States was becoming a country. It is the constitution, those against the death penalty says it violates one of our amendment, the 8th amendment. The 8th amendment states “Excessive bail shall not be required , nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.” The death penalty is a excessive and inhumane punishment, some say it involves a swifty execution and some say it also bring pain, which is cruel. The death penalty cases doesn’t treat the inmates as humans, but as something else and deciding whether they should remain in society or not. “ The fatal constitutional infirmity in the punishment of death is that it treats “ members of the human race as nonhumans, as subjects to be toyed with and discarded” (ProCon “Death”) People who are with the death penalty who says it does not violate the constitution. The death penalty brings out a swift death and will not bring them harm. “Simply because an execution method may result in pain, either by accident or as an inescapable consequence of death, does not establish the sort of objectivity intolerable risk of harm” (ProCon, “Death”)
While the justice system thinks that the execution given to the prisoners are swift and painless, some think they are not. No matter how accurate information on executing a prisoner is, one cannot not simply know what the prisoner is feeling. He could be feeling pain or maybe nothing, it cannot be guaranteed.“Although our information is not conclusive, it appears that there is no method available that guarantees an immediate and painless death. Since the discontinued of flogging as a constitutionally permissible punishment, death remains as the only punishment that may involved conscious infliction of physical pain”(“The Death Penalty” 42) It means that dying always involves conscious physically pain and there is no way can null the pain of executing a prisoner.
The next argument is how common it is today in the United States.The death penalty around the world has become less and less common throughout the years. Today the death penalty is less common than it used to be since the 1990s. The execution rates has gone less and less throughout the years. For example in 1999 there was a total of 99 executions. Halfway to the year today, which is 2008 there was only 37 executions. This year there was only 17 executions. The death penalty is officially becoming less common and America, so it is time that we abolish it for good. From 1976 to 2016 there’s only been a total of 1,438. In the 1930s , there has been 167 executions per year. That means from 1930s to 1940s there has been about 1,670 executions. Which is way more that America could do today. Today the country has 30 states that has the death penalty policy. Even though more than half the states have the policy does not mean they use it, which they shouldn’t be doing. But in this year only 5 states used the death penalty policy. Those states are Florida, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas. Only 5 out of 30 states used the death penalty. It is because at this day and age the death penalty is not liked by our society anymore. “ I turn, therefore, to the third principle. An examination of the history and present operation of the American practice of punishing criminals by death reveals that this punishment has been almost totally rejected by contemporary society” (“The” 46) To add to the argument, the population recently has been slowly shifting from executing to just imprisoning criminals for life. “A gallup poll in 2006 showed that the percentage of Americans who prefer life without parole instead of death penalty has grown from 32 percent in 1994 to 48 percent. Americans who favor the death penalty has dropped from 50 percent in 1994 to 47 percent in 2006.” (Recinella, “Ending” 16)
This argument is about the our justice system in the United States of America, are they accurate in terms of prosecution. As far as research shows the justice system in the United States of America is not 100 percent accurate. That means innocent lives are put at risk too. Some people even admit that the criminal justice system causes some innocent lives to suffer in the fate of false justice. “No system of justice can produce results which are 100% certain all the time. Mistakes will be made in any system which relies upon human testimony for proof” (ProCon, Death) This just means there’s a small chance a person could be considered guilty for being at that crime scene at the wrong time. This meant that the Justice system is not right sometimes. They put innocent lives at risk, there are some people who die for other people’s crimes. For example a case, Carlos Deluna. Carlos was convicted of stabbing a stork clerk. He was executed by the state of Texas in 1989. Some authorities doubted is Carlos Deluna, and found out it was Carlos Hernandez. “A Chicago Tribune investigation released in 2006 revealed groundbreaking evidence that Texas may have executed an innocent man in 1989. The defendant, Carlos DeLuna, was executed for the fatal stabbing of Texas convenience store clerk Wanda Lopez in 1983. New evidence uncovered by reporters Maurice Possley and Steve Mills casts doubt on DeLuna’s guilt and points towards another man, Carlos Hernandez, who had a record of similar crimes and repeatedly confessed to the murder. A news piece aired on ABC’s “World News Tonight” also covered this story.” (DPIC “Reports”) Research also found that there could also be corruption in the justice system that takes advantage of the innocent.“ Our criminal justice system does have corrupt prosecutors, lying crime lab analyst, crooked cops , and bling judges who railroaded innocent people onto death row.” (Dutta “Kill The Death Penalty” 8) This is one of the reasons why the death penalty should not be available to use as a punishment in the United States.
The last argument is regarding to the cost of the death penalty. This argument is critical because most cases and execution process are funded by taxpayer money. The death penalty is more expensive than to its solution, which is sentencing a person to life in prison without parole. A regular case would cost about $714,000, where a death penalty case would cost about 1.2 million dollars. It goes toward the attorneys, which are double, the judge, the trial, and the long length investigation. Also each year the prisoner is kept in prison it would cost the state $90,000. Which is way more than the normal sentencing of life in prison. “One of the most common misperceptions about the death penalty is the notion that the death penalty saves money because executed defendants no longer have to be cared for at the state’s expense. If the costs of the death penalty were to be measured at the time of an execution, that might indeed be true. But as every prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge knows, the costs of a capital case begin long before the sentence is carried out. Experienced prosecutors and defense attorneys must be assigned and begin a long period of investigation and pretrial hearings. Jury selection, the trial itself, and initial appeals will consume years of time and enormous amounts of money before an execution is on the horizon…[A]ll of the studies conclude that the death penalty system is far more expensive than an alternative system in which the maximum sentence is life in prison.” (ProCon “Death”)
In conclusion, the solution to the death penalty is to ban it as a punishment in the United States. Instead of killing human beings, which would cost more money to do, imprisonment deems more tolerable. As they are fellow human beings, no system has a right to judge whether they live or die, for which that is immoral to do so. The research shows how the catholic church also supports the abolishment against the death penalty, seeing that is never right to kill a human being, even in an advanced society where people can be protected in other ways. The research shows how small but it is possible a innocent person can be executed for a crime they did not even commit in the first place. It shows the alternative is better than executing people and it suites our modern society. The research shows the fault in the cost of life in prison rather than executing onelife in prison does not violate our 8th amendment. This research goes in depth in how the execution rates are declining over the last years, as society slowly rejects it, proving that death punishment should be removed from the punishments.