Against Death Penalty Essay

513 words | 2 page(s)

The historical record suggests that the death penalty sentence has been carried out since at least 16th century B.C. The first record of death penalty sentence in the U.S. is of George Kendall of Virginia who was sentenced to death in 1608 for betraying the British . The death penalty remains a controversial issue in America after more than four centuries even though it is being abolished gradually in the rest of the world. 106 countries had completely outlawed death penalty by 2017 including 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa . It is time for the U.S. to move in line with the rest of the world, especially, the developed countries because death penalty is not only immoral but also imposes huge economic costs on the society.

Death penalty should be abolished in America because it violates basic human rights, and is irreversible in the case of innocent victims. While the justice system does seek to deliver justice, it is not perfect, just like any other institution run by people. If an innocent person is executed, there is no way to reverse the action if the victim of the death sentence is later found to be innocent. The death sentence of at least 156 people in 26 states has been reversed since 1973, and nationally one person is usually exonerated for every ten people that are executed . Civil societies respect life and death penalty violates that principle. It is also important to understand that people of color are more likely to be given the death penalty than White Americans so death penalty also violates the principle of equal protection under the law in America . It is clear that the principles behind the death penalty are incompatible with a civic society.

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The death penalty should be abolished because it imposes huge economic costs on the society, often more than the alternatives. The legislative audit in Kansas in 2003 found that the death penalty costs at least 70 percent more than non-death penalty alternatives. The death penalty trials in Tennessee cost 48 percent more than the trials in which the prosecutors seek life imprisonment. Death penalty cases cost three times as much as non-death penalty cases in Maryland, and the current system in California costs $137 million as opposed to only $11.5 million that would be the case under the system with no death penalty . Death penalty is not only unethical and immoral but also a huge economic burden on the system as the evidence from several U.S. states indicates.

The death penalty has been carried out for centuries but it is on the decline worldwide due to incompatibility with modern civil values. Unfortunately, death penalty remains a fact in several U.S. states, and the time has come to abolish it. Death penalty disproportionately affects minority groups, and wrong executions are irreversible. Death penalty also imposes huge economic costs on the society; these scarce economic resources could be spend on other programs of economic and social welfare.

  • ACLU. The Case Against the Death Penalty. 22 October 2018 .
  • Amnesty International. Research Shows a Global Trend Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty, But More Work Remains. 11 April 2018. 22 October 2018
  • Amnesty USA. Death Penalty Cost. 22 October 2018 .
  • Reggio, Michael H. History of the Death Penalty. 22 October 2018 .

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