“Capital Punishment, also known as the Death Penalty, is a government sanctioned practice whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime” (wikipedia). It is legal in thirty-two states as a punishment for offences such as murder, treason, espionage, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide (wikipedia). The death penalty is a very controversial topic because many people believe it is wrong, while others believe it should be an option for the most serious crimes. Personally, I support the death penalty because many people commit terrible crimes and they need to pay for what they have done. One may view the death penalty as a cruel and unusual punishment and therefore it should not be legal.
They may say death is painful and no one should have to go through it. For example, The American Civil Liberties Union believes that, “…the death penalty inherently violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment and the guarantees of due process of law and of equal protection under the law” (aclu.
org). ACLU makes a good point that the death penalty is cruel sometimes, but in 1976, the Supreme Court ruled that, “the punishment of death does not invariably violate the Constitution” (aclu.org).
The four methods of execution in the U.S. are lethal injection, electrocution, hanging, and a firing squad. If done correctly, it should kill you very quickly, and you will not feel a lot of pain. According to The Death Penalty Information Center, in the U.S. from 1890-2010, there have been 8,776 people executed.
Only 3% of these executions were botched so only 263 people have ever suffered (deathpenaltyinfo.org). So to say that the death penalty is cruel and unusual would be a hasty generalization, because 97% of executions are fast and painless. Not only is the death penalty quick and painless, but it is also the ultimate deterrent for other criminals. Writing for commondreams.org, Dan Brooks claims that, “.
..the death penalty is inhumane and killing people makes us like the murderers who most of us despise” (commondreams).
Although it is true that we do kill people, Dan is missing the bigger point that these people need to pay for what they have done, and prison is not the answer. The death penalty is the only punishment that deters criminals from committing crimes. According to The National Institute of Justice, “Within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested. Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested” (nij.
gov). Living murderers will murder again but executed ones cannot. This clearly proves that a large percentage of criminals do not learn from their mistakes, and that prison has little effect on them. The last reason the death penalty should be legal is that it is the only rational and moral response to some crimes. The death penalty should be reserved for those who commit massacres, terrorism, and rape. One example of someone that many believe was rightfully executed was serial killer John Wayne Gacy. “Convicted of 33 murders, he was sentenced to death on March 13, 1980 for 12 of those killings.
He spent 14 years on death row before he was finally executed by lethal injection at Stateville Correctional Center on May 10, 1994. Gacy became known as the “Killer Clown” because of his charitable services at fundraising events, parades, and children’s parties where he would dress as “Pogo the Clown”, a character he devised himself.” (wikipedia). If there was no death penalty this man would have stayed in prison his whole life, he wouldn’t have been rehabilitated, and wouldn’t have been released back into society. Not to mention, in these situations, life in prison is the same as a death sentence because inmates may kill you if they find out that you have murdered, and abused young children.
Executions also provide closure for the victims families by giving them a sense of relief that the criminal is no longer alive. As George W. Bush said, “I don’t think you should support the death penalty to seek revenge. I don’t think that’s right. I think the reason to support the death penalty is because it saves other people’s lives” (wiseoldsayings). In my opinion, the benefits of the death penalty outweigh the drawbacks.
The death penalty is justified and laws should be passed to make it legal in all fifty states. Some individuals have crossed the line and deserve to pay for what they have done and prison is not the answer. The death penalty provides closure for the victims families, and is the ultimate warning to other criminals. It should be reserved for the worst of criminals who have committed the worst of crimes.