Should The United States Abolish The Death Penalty Philosophy Essay

The death penalty has been around for a long period of time even during the days of medieval times when kings would hang people when it was not even referred to as the death penalty. Though the death penalty has been around for years, many people are against it due to it being immoral, or against their religious views, or it being inhumane while some sees it as being racially biased. Can we stop murder by murdering? Is it to the benefit of the State and its tax payers to sentence a person to death or incarcerate them so they can continue committing unlawful acts? The abolishment of the death penalty would be a tremendous mistake due to the fact that serious felons that keep committing heinous acts will not stop since all that will happen is a sentence increase. What the United States must do is reevaluate the justice system in terms of severity of the crimes and the punishment for them. The death penalty is still used in foreign countries such as Japan which has an extremely low murder rate. (Siegel 538)

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Although a person is incarcerated, it does not mean that illegal activity in the jail is not being committed. Millions of dollars are being spent on prisons that do not deter crime and are basically breeding grounds for murderers and unpredictable felons. When a felon is sent to prison, they have to make the decision as to whether they will stick to their sentence alone or will join a gang/group. Most decide to join a gang because they are scared they will be savagely beaten by other inmates that do not like them. Gang members who do come to prison are warned that no gang activity will be tolerated and serious consequences will be implemented if they do not comply. (Ron Holvey ¶3)

Some gang members may have to commit murders inside jails because they are being told by the leader of the gang to carry out the murder. What punishment can we give someone who is already incarcerated? If this person killed once in prison, more than likely he will commit murder again, and that is something that no prison should tolerate. The Death penalty should be a consequence for murder in jail or else the rate of it will continue to rise.

There was a recent article about a prisoner who murdered a fellow inmate at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. “Richard L. Short, 26, is accused of using a prison shank to stab Charles L. Jackson, 52, who died within an hour of being stabbed five times in his cell on Jan. 23. Investigators interviewed Short twice on the evening of the attack and initially denied involvement and said he was elsewhere at the time of the assault.” This is a statement by Richard L. Short “‘What do you want me to say? I’m not gonna. It happened. Charge me. Whatever. Let’s get this over with,” Short is reported as telling investigators. He later is quoted in the affidavit as telling investigators that he “just ran in and did what I had to do and got out” (Stafford ¶9).

His response to this murder is outrageous and we should not have to have our tax dollars spent on cold-hearted murders that know they can get away with anything. His punishment was being transferred to the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility which is a high security facility. Short had been serving a forty year sentence in the first place, and now he could not careless if he were given 80 years. He sees prison as a home that shelters him and feeds him even when he kills someone. The death penalty must be administered to Richard L. Short or else fellow inmates in Pendleton Correctional facility will get the idea that they can kill someone and just have years added to their sentence in which they see as nothing.

Many people claim that the death penalty takes the lives of the innocent. Since 1973, 139 people have been released from death row around the United States due to evidence of their wrongful conviction (Amnesty International 1). During the same time period, more than 1,000 people have been executed. Since the use of DNA, the number of death sentences has dramatically dropped (3). Wrongful convictions are nothing new, especially convictions that were placed before DNA evidence came about. If there is sufficient evidence that a certain individual murdered a person then I do think that they should be given the death penalty due to the DNA evidence that holds them accountable.

There was a case back in 2005 in which a man from New York was convicted of a rape and murder that he did not commit. Jeffrey Mark Deskovic, 33, spent nearly half his life in a New York prison for a rape and murder he did not commit. DNA testing cleared Deskovic and he was released Sep. 20 from prison.( Cremonesi¶3) In 2004, Ryan Matthew, convicted for the murder of a local convenience store owner in Louisiana, escaped the death penalty after prosecutors dropped all charges on the basis of DNA testing results.( ¶5) DNA tests played a substantial role in establishing prisoners’ innocence in at least 14 cases of the 123 exonerations since 1973, according to the DPIC.( Cremonesi ¶22).

If there were any life sentences given in 1990’s or before, they should be retried thanks to DNA evidence. Today, a person cannot be sentenced to death unless there is DNA evidence that holds them accountable for the crime they committed. Convictions decade(s) ago are the only ones that should be retried as opposed to sentences given today thanks to the technology agencies have acquired. If the death penalty is getting carried out then apparently that person is guilty of a crime.

There are many people out there who have a religious perspective on the death penalty. Most religious groups do not defend the death penalty because they just forgive and forget. When a loved one is killed, how would you feel if that murderer was sent to prison? Sending him to prison is a slap on the wrist compared to sentencing him to death row. If a murderer has no sympathy for life then we should not have any sympathy for his life and waste money keeping him alive if he always commits crimes.

Capital punishment one way or another is sometimes the only real threat available to deter crime. If a prisoner serving a life sentence knows that if his next move in prison is a wrong move, then he will more than likely be controlled. Guards in these prisons cannot control every action and keep an eye on inmates twenty-four seven as people think but one thing they can do is intimidate with the use of capital punishment. Some offenders are just so dangerous that they will never be let back into society for the fact that they cannot blend into it. If you are going to release someone back out into the public then they should go through a rehabilitation process in which they go through a number of steps to leave prison in a good state of mind.

Capital punishment is literally the ultimate deterrent to crime. It has an effect of states and the communities all so it prevents potential criminals from taking the lives of the innocent. At the end of the day, the death penalty is taken away one life to save the life of one person or even a few people. (Siegel 536)

Keeping an inmate in prison costs New Jersey close to $35,000 per year (Dr. Rainville). An inmate serving a life sentence should be given death since it is our tax pay money that is keeping this felon alive. Keeping a person who has never done anything right in their life alive is pointless and costly. States can save money every year by executing inmates that truly are guilty of crimes they committed. States do not only pay for food, electricity and other things but unfortunately they must pay for medical bills of these inmates as well. People assume that since Prisons are ran by the state, if an inmate is sent to the hospital then their treatment is free. Unfortunately, that is false and money we can be saving by executing life sentenced felons should be used for other necessities such a medical care. Considering decisions like this would definitely make sense financially with our crowded prison system.

There is an obvious distinction between selling drugs and committing a murder. The distribution of drugs is a serious crime but on a different scale compared to murder. Punishment for murder should be an automatically capital punishment and people who sell drugs should stay in prison but not for over a decade. There are hundreds of thousands of drugs dealers in the streets that get arrested and get prosecuted as if they were murderers. If the justice system is going to prosecute drug dealers, at lease have murders and drug dealers separate. Many prisons all around the United States are getting crowded with prisoners that they start using some of the prisons gym facility to put inmates.

In conclusion, the death penalty should not be abolished. Our justice system has held it for decades and I see no reason to abolish it. Without capital punishment, felons will have no fear to commit crimes time and time again knowing the only consequence will be incarceration where they can still be involved in criminal activities! We cannot allow states to use our tax payer money on prisons that are literally failing compared to prisons in foreign countries. If prisoners of your country would rather get transported out to a jail in another country then our system is crippled and failing. The people of the United States need to decide whether they rather take one life to save the lives of many or have the opposite of that occur. We must put our emotional anger away and think about what is best for our country so that our facilities are not overcrowded with felons that are not sympathetic. What would you do, give a murderer the death penalty for killing innocent people? Or would you send him to life in prison so he can torture the lives of his fellow inmates?