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... aved to fully fund efforts such as victim-assistance programs. In North Carolina an execution cost two million six-hundred thousand dollars, and in Texas an execution costs two million three-hundred thousand dollars. California alone spends ninety million dollars a year to execute prisoners on death row.
In Florida, it costs three million two-hundred thousand dollars on each death row inmate, compared to about five-hundred thirty-five thousand for an average of forty years for each prisoner sentenced to life. This is a huge amount of tax payers money, but the public looks at it as an investment in safety since these murderers will never kill again. Cruel and unusual punishment has been at the top of the Abolitionist argument throughout the years. The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution states, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. " On June 29, 1972, a split five to four vote by the Supreme Court reached the landmark decision in case of Furman versus Georgia.
The decision rendered that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution by being, "Cruel and unusual. " However, the Supreme Court's ruling was overturned in 1976. The argument of cruel and unusual punishment has been around since the Colonial days. Back in those days prisoners were shot by firing squads, hanged in public, and many other barbarous forms of execution. During hangings prisoners sometimes had there heads severed by the rope. Prisoners sometimes suffered the agony of being shot numerous times by a firing squad.
Even when the invention of the electric chair came about, tales of flames leaping out of the heads and legs of victims and eyeballs popping out of their heads were common. The Department of Justice is always looking for methods that are less cruel and unusual than these methods. Even today the methods of execution are inhumane. Such instances as doctors taking an hour to find a vein to hook up the needles of the injection machine are commonplace in prisons across the nation. Some people think that homicide is heinous, so is hanging; they call hanging or capital punishment "judicial murder. " According to them the vindictive impulses of society should not be accorded legal sanction.
The death penalty has been regarded as barbaric and forbidden by law. Many examples of this were used before the eighteenth century such as impalement, burning alive, and crushing by stones. These forms of punishment are barbaric and should not be used, but modern technology allows us to exterminate criminals in a more fashionable manor as the gas chamber or lethal injection. In the United States the death penalty is currently authorized in one of five ways: hanging, electrocution, gas chamber, firing squad, or lethal injection. Another controversial aspect opposed to the death penalty is that innocent people are killed even though they did not commit any crime. The executing of the innocent is rare.
From 1900 to 1985, a recent survey found that 7000 people were executed by the means of the death penalty and 35 were innocent of capital crimes. Since 1973, eighty people on death row have been released due to their innocence. In all the years of capital punishment the government should have perfected the process of executing prisoners. In the United States, the main objection to capital punishment has been that it was always used unfairly, in at least three major ways. First, females are rarely sentenced to death and executed, even though twenty percent of all murders that have occurred in recent years were committed by women.
Second, a disproportionate number of non whites are sentenced to death and executed. A black man who kills a white person is eleven times more likely to receive the death penalty than a white man who kills a black person. In Texas in 1991, blacks made up twelve percent of the population, but forty-eight percent of the prison population and fifty-five and a half percent of those on death row are black. Before the 1970 s, when the death penalty for rape was still used in many states, no white men were guilty of raping nonwhite women, whereas most black offenders found guilty of raping a white woman were executed. This data shows how the death penalty can discriminate and be used on certain races rather than equally as punishment for severe crimes. Finally, poor and friendless defendants, those who are inexperienced or of court-appointed counsel, are most likely to be sentenced to death and executed.
Opponents of capital punishment have replied to this by saying that the death penalty is subject to miscarriage of justice and that it would be impossible to administer fairly. Through the complex debate of capital punishment I have to looked at both sides of the argument thoroughly. I am pro capital punishment but only if certain regulations are followed. The first reason I am pro death penalty is I believe that a person should act as though the same action could happen to them. If a criminal decides to brutally murder a innocent person, he or she needs to think about the consequences of their actions. If the criminal robs a person I believe he or she needs to be robbed themselves.
I believe this process especially goes for the unlawful taking of a person's life. Some situations I believe that this process does not work. If a person kills someone in order to protect him or herself or people they care for, I feel that the death penalty is unjust. If a man or woman finds outs that their spouse is cheating on them, and they kill the person the spouse is cheating with then the death penalty is not warranted. However, the crime does need to be punished but not given the death penalty. These crimes are called Crimes of Passion and are commonplace in the United States.
The second argument I offer is that the death penalty rids the streets of the nation from the scum in our society. Most people that are on death row are career criminals. This means that these people spend their whole life committing crimes to make the streets more dangerous. When the death penalty is enacted on these vial examples of people, the streets become more safe. I know you are thinking why would not life in prison rid society of these criminals which it does, but there is always the possibility of the prisoner escaping the prison and committing more acts against society. The final argument I have to offer is of deterrence.
The death penalty spreads fear across the nation to criminals by showing that the United States Department of Justice does not tolerate these vial actions. The debate over capital punishment coincides with the arguments I have reviewed. At present the United States government is in no real danger of losing the death penalty, but the push for the review of the corrections system is in heated debate. In the future there will always be arguments for and against such complex issues. By looking at both sides of the debate I hope you come to your own conclusion on this issue.
Stewart, Gail B. The Death Penalty. San Diego: Greenhaven Press Inc. , 1998. Flanders, Stephen A. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.
New York: Facts On File, 1991. Williams, Mary E. Capital Punishment. San Diego: Greenhaven Press Inc. , 1998. Jacobs, Nancy R. , Alison Landes, and Mark A. Siegel.
Capital Punishment-Cruel and Unusual? "Capital Punishment. " World Book. Volume 3. 1989. History of the Death Penalty. 8 July 2000 web Bibliography:
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