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Capital Punishment

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Essay title: Capital Punishment

“Capital punishment is a barbarous survival from a less enlightened and refined age; it is incongruous and incompatible with our present standard of civilization and humanity. It has been abolished by many states and countries, and we must look forward to the day when the other governments will follow suit.”

These words were spoken almost a century ago on March 31, 1914 at a meeting of the Men's International Theosophical League of Humanity. While the words are old the sentiment still grows in the heart of many Americans and of people of all nations. Capital punishment is an ineffective and outdated form of retribution that has failed to live up to the many ideals and goals that the citizens of this nation have placed upon it.

The first established death penalty laws date as far back as the Eighteenth Century B.C. Death sentences were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement. These methods of death have become as outdated as the punishment itself. The death penalty should be abolished because it has never been shown to deter crimes more effectively than other punishments, there are serious economic consequences, and it involves a heightened risk of error.

Recent studies in Oklahoma and California failed to find that capital punishment had a deterrent effect on violent crime and, in fact, found a significant increase in stranger killings and homicide rates after the death penalty had been reinstated. Many murders are commented as crimes of passion and the murderer would not be a repeat offender. Therefore we are killing those who no longer pose a threat to our lives while petty criminals are free to roam the streets. The death penalty punishes many who are no longer dangerous, some who suffer from mental imparities and others who are innocent.

There are serious economic consequences to use of capital punishment. Various state governments estimate that a single death penalty case, from the point of arrest to execution, ranges from $1 million to $3 million per case. The millions of dollars spent on capital punishment cut into the resources available for other community interests, such as schools and hospitals. For example, Taxpayers in Florida are spending an average of $2.3 million on each execution which is over six times what it would cost for life without parole in a Florida prison. In addition, New York brought back the death penalty in 1995, even though the department of corrections estimated that it would cost over $2 million per case and approximately $118 million annually. That same year, state leaders complained that there was

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