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Capital Punishment

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Capital Punishment

All around the world people have been shot, hung, electrocuted, stoned, clubbed, stabbed, beaten, whipped, and burned to death. Some people feel that the torture and death of an individual who has committed a crime is justice. The simple fact of the matter is that when we impose the death penalty, it lowers us to the same level as the accused person. Capital punishment should be banned from the United States because it is too expensive to continue executing prisoners, the public doesn't support it, and incorrect verdicts happen much too often.

The death penalty is not as inexpensive as one may think. There is much more to consider in the total cost of executing a prisoner than just the actual execution. First of all, one must consider the funding that the state puts forth for appeals, which are very common. Almost immediately after a prisoner is sentenced to death, his lawyer is already working on requesting an appeal. Second of all, prisoners are sometimes able to pay off the price of their stay in prison by working for the penitentiary. There have been numerous accounts in history when prisoners have paid for their living expenses and have actually earned a profit for the prison (Du Ponte 97). If one thinks that prisoners on death row should be executed because they don't support themselves, then, in theory, all prisoners who don't support themselves should be executed. To come to that conclusion is totally not legitimate.

Capital punishment is used less and less in current day. The public does not have the support for the death penalty that it once had in the past (Loeb 66). Recently,

juries have been much less likely to convict criminals and sentence them to death. Juries are having more sympathy for the accused, and if they are sentencing them, it is more likely to be life in prison. Another fact that shows that society doesn't support capital punishment is that executions are made to be as painless as possible. If the point of killing criminals is to punish them for what they did, then why are we making it painless? If society really believed that they wanted to punish criminals, then the death penalty would not be painless. Further more, many people do not think that sentencing criminals to death is morally acceptable (Amnesty International). If society kills a killer, then isn't society lowering itself to the killer's level? Is that the type of society one wants to live in? Should a thief have his or her hand chopped off? Of course not. The saying "an eye for an eye" may have worked well in the medieval period, but in today's society it has no place.

The third and probably most important reason that the death penalty should be banned is the simple fact that incorrect verdicts do happen. Innocent people are falsely accused, sentenced, and killed. Those who aren't killed while awaiting their sentence to be carried out are forced to serve years in prison until they are finally proved to be innocent. For instance, in the case of Rolando Cruz, he was allowed to walk free from his cell after serving eleven years while awaiting his death. He was sentenced to death for the murder of a ten-year-old girl, in which he was falsely accused. The police had no solid motive to pin on Cruz, and there was a lack of physical evidence. The police, who believed Cruz was guilty, made up fake evidence that linked him to the death. The real murderer of the girl finally admitted to the crime after Rolando Cruz served eight years; however, it took three more years for newly found DNA evidence to release him (Costanzo 87). In another case, Jesse Jacobs,

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