Death Penalty Debate in the United States
The debate on death punishment in the US has been in existence for quite long, and it dates back as early as in the colonial period. As per the 2017 report, capital punishment is legal in 31 states, the military justice systems and the federal government (Lantin, 2017). The punishment majorly inflicted on murder and rape criminals was abolished in the non-practicing states citing that it is not only unethical but also the fact that it could lead to the execution of innocent people. Nevertheless, the death penalty is a perfect tool for enforcing and preserving law and order. It deters crime, minimizes the costs that could be incurred if the criminals were sentenced to life imprisonment and acts as a consolation to the victims leading to closure. Furthermore, death punishment is constitutionally acceptable in the United States. The death penalty is an ultimate warning to criminals and leads to the incapacitation o the criminals (Stichter, 2014). Ideally, if criminals are convinced beyond doubt if they commit a certain crime they will be put to death, they would be less inclined to commit such crimes. The efficiency of the death penalty in deterrence is evidenced in the cases of the states where the punishment was abolished. The crime rates in these states substantially increased. Thus, the abolition of the death penalty is synonymous with felony crime rate increase. In a greater sense, the death penalty is an ultimate warning against all offenses. Execution helps to permanently remove the most horrible criminals in the society saving the lives of the correctional officers, prisoners and the society as a whole.
Many people believe that the states have better projects to invest the taxpayers’ money rather than spending dollars to cater for the long-term imprisonments of the perpetrators of heinous crimes. However, the execution of criminals in the United States is growing more expensive with time (Lantin, 2017). Currently, many jurors find execution more costly than life imprisonment. However, execution does not need to cost much. Once the defendants have been found guilty, the justice systems do not have to allow endless appeals. Even if these appeals are allowed, keeping a criminal in jail would not be any cheaper. Confined criminals are equally eligible for conducting appeals causing many costs just as a convict placed under a death penalty. Being alive and having nothing productive to do is not any better.
Death penalty provides a closure not only to the offended victim but also the whole family (Lantin, 2017). Imprisonment or any other severe punishment is not just enough for a felony to the offended. For instance, in a murder case, the family is deprived the joy of living with the victim. The affected family can hardly get a relief especially when the murderer still exists. Unless the murderer is put to death, the family will never deem that justice prevailed.The United States’ Supreme Court once gave a ruling that death penalty is not unconstitutional (Stichter, 2014). Essentially, no single amendment directly condemns the death penalty. The only issue that ought to be considered in execution is how it is applied in some instances. Death punishment does not violate the 8th Amendment as it is not unusual in any way. The punishment has been in existence for a very long time, and the constitution does not condemn it or consider it unfair.
The upholding of the death penalty in any society sustains the justice systems as an avenue for retribution, rehabilitation, and deterrence. The punishment should be maintained as a payback to the worst criminals to incapacitate them from causing greater harm permanently. If the punishment is fully enforced, there is less likelihood of criminals getting involved in heinous crimes. Strict enforcement will see a consequent drop in felonies reducing the human misery perpetrated on the genuinely innocent families.
Lantin, R. G. (2017). The Death Penalty Debate: a Look at the Main Arguments. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 7(3), 43-48.
Stichter, M. (2014). The Structure of Death Penalty Arguments. Res Publica, 20(2), 129-143.