Thursday, November 14, 2019
Capital Punishment :: Essays Papers
Capital Punishment The death penalty is the most severe penalty in the United States judicial system. It is administered only for the most brutal of crimes. Three out of every four Americans are in favor of the death penalty. Opponents believe that the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Because the death penalty engenders such fervid debate among interested individuals, politicians often use the controversy to garner public support. There are many pros and cons pertaining to capital punishment. In 1972, the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty because it inflicted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. The number of people executed and later found to be innocent disturbed the Court. The Court also felt that the death penalty was being unfairly applied to minorities and poor people. In 1976, after the advent of lethal injection and additional laws to protect the innocent, the Supreme Court reversed its decision and reinstated the death penalty. Many of the same arguments that were used to abolish the death penalty are still being asserted today. People favor capital punishment for numerous reasons. First, capital punishment is believed to deter crime. Criminals may think twice before committing crimes, knowing that their actions could cost them their lives. Second, the victims relatives and friends may feel greater relief and closure if the perpetrator pays for the crime with his or her own life. People close to a victim are often upset by the fact that someone who took away a loved one can continue to live and even inflict more pain by being outspoken and unapologetic. Capital punishment can relieve fears that a killer will escape or be granted parole and return to harm someone else. Third, the death penalty saves money. Why should taxpayers support vicious criminals throughout their incarceration? Why should these criminals add to the serious problem of prison overcrowding which forces less serious violators to be released before their full sentences is served? Lastly, rough justice demands that someone who takes a life should not be allowed to live his or her own life. This principle dates back to the Bible, which provides an eye for an eye. The arguments against capital punishment are equally compelling. For one, the death penalty is biased against African Americans. Statistical evidence shows that African Americans are four times more likely to receive the death penalty than Caucasians.