In the United States of America today, it has been realized that the death penalty or capital punishment concept has been a much –questioned part of the present criminal justice system. Based on the online Webster dictionary research, the death penalty is defined as a form of judicially ordered execution of prisoners that acts as punishment for serious crimes that relate to treason or murder. Thus, the fact that it is divisive has been evidenced that it is a topic that has sparked passion within individuals in society regarding the effectiveness and equality of the American criminal justice system. As a result, everyone in society is entitled to their own opinion about the death penalty/capital punishment. Some individuals in society wish that the criminal justice system should make it harsher to those members who are prone to various types of crime and violence. Whereas others feel that this form of criminal justice punishment should be nullified, they have got their reason that they have been presenting to the courts why it has to be uplifted (Kyambalesa, 16). Therefore, this essay’s primary purpose is to offer a concrete argument on why the death penalty should not be part and parcel of the criminal justice system, which contrasts with the main character’s thoughts of the assigned reading “David B Muhlhausen.”
Thus, before bringing out the argument, it will be an essential approach to note that capital punishment in the United States of America has been administered in diverse ways amongst the 50 States. For instance, most of the literature about this topic indicates that the federal government and States currently have the death penalty. Practice this method of punishment in different ways. For instance, it has been revealed that some of the most commonly used methods include lethal injection, lethal gas, hanging, firing squad, and electrocution (Loewy, 2-3). However, it should be noted that amongst those five methods of capital punishment, the most commonly used method in various states is that of lethal injection. It has come to the individual realization that only one state amongst those with the death penalty does not put it into practice.
According to, Amanda et al. (2020) in their article entitled “Which U.S. States Still Have the Death Penalty?” I have been indicated that data from Death Penalty Info.org demonstrates that out of the 50 states in the United States, 28 states are still using the capital punishment/ death penalty (Delvin et al.1-2) The remaining 22 states that do not have the death penalty in their criminal justices system include Washington, District of Columbia, Wisconsin, West Virginia, New York, Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Michigan, Minnesota, Maine, Hawaii, Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland, and lastly Vermont. Additionally, it’s also noted from the same article that 1527 people have been executed in the U.S. as from 1976 (Delvin et al., 2-3). However, the federal government has refrained from doing so since (2003).
Therefore, one of the reasons why the United States criminal justice system needs to uplift capital punishment is because it has come to individuals’ understanding that this method of discipline, which happens to be brutal. It has existed for a long period, and indeed, if it is true, it saves a life. The current society should not be experiencing continued loss of lives through murder and crime. Thus, it should be regarded as having reached its expiration date and both the criminal and judicial system and needs to end immediately. Like the famous quote, “out with the old in with the new,” no matter in what form of that capital punishment has been administered in society, capital punishment has accomplished nothing less than terrorizing individuals in society (Conklin, 4). They are not just criminals who are experiencing his but also a close friend and family members at large. Therefore this s the reason why whenever the topic of the death penalty that has been evidenced to be divisive is introduced to individuals in the society, they tend to develop a lot of negative thoughts. Some of the society members who ought to be innocent have also undergone execution through this form of punishment has resulted in the worst feelings among various families and friends. These negative feelings usually result in various psychological ill-health issues. For instance, they tend to undergo some sought of emotional trauma and, at some point, even depression. Take a look at the Texas cases of Todd Willingham, a thirty-six-year-old man, who was executed by lethal injection on 17th February 2004. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed for murdering his three young children through the fire, but later, when investigations are made, it becomes clear that Texas had executed an innocent man. Most literature also indicates that for a long time in the history of America, there have been several cases of wrongful convictions of defendants (Conklin, 2-3). Yet, the death penalty has been a significant stumbling block for various opportunities that arise to rectify any miscarriage of justice.
Apart from the inefficiency, which has already been depicted in this form of punishment, it is also essential to note that even though Muhlhausen indicates that, a Gallup poll from May on the issue of capital punishment that about sixty-one percent of Americans today have a perception that this form of punishment is morally acceptable. It has been evidenced from the pew research center that the majority of Americans have been doing so because they tend to believe that it plays a significant role in society by deterring various crimes of murder and gruesome murders. However, the fact remains that their perceptions are very much far from the truth. The argument is based on the findings of modern theologians and scholars who usually claim that a tiny fraction of those individuals found guilty of homicides is given the death penalty. Most of them are generally freed on various terms; thus, the death penalty does not deter crime in society (Azamjonovich, 1377). Therefore, the only way society can achieve better protection is through incarcerating dangerous individuals in their entire life without parole. Incarceration has been evidenced to play an essential role in most countries that have adopted it since its one way that has been evidenced to create that idea of rehabilitation that capital punishment or death penalty has way failed in achieving.
Additionally, the fact that in the United States of America there are many racial disparities in this form of punishment that various individuals have questioned in society. The death penalty should not be seen as something that is morally upright and one that is playing a significant role in saving other people’s lives in society, from various literatures that has been presented on this topic. It has been evidenced that defendants who are usually charged with killing the whites in the United States of America are more susceptible to being punished through capital punishment than those who are usually charged with killing the Black. Still, on the issues of racial disparities, it has also come to individual’s realization that those individuals in the society who are usually grouped as the underclass, minorities, and the poor. These are the most frequent individuals in society who have been hit with this type of criminal justice punishment compared to the other societal group. The reason is that, unlike the rich, it has been noted that the poor and the minorities have found it very hard to be in a position to hire some of the private attorneys. As a result, those defendants from this group happen to be not favorites of various stakeholders in both the criminal and judicial justice system, such as; judges, police, governors, and prosecutors. When it comes to the death penalty issue, they are usually seen as the victims of discriminatory applications.
Moreover, it has also been evidenced that in most cases, some states have supported the issues of capital punishment because they tend to see it as a form of punishment that is somehow less costly compared to incarceration. Though the fact remain that it is far from the truth, and society should perceive killings to various felonies as something that is immorally upright. Recent research conducted on both criminal and judicial justice systems in the United States of America indicates that indeed a vast amount of taxpayer money is usually used in execution processes to find its legality. For instance, it has been evidenced that it accounts for an average of about 63.3 US dollars annually in California. In Maryland, it has been evidenced from the new study that the states pay up to 37 million U.S. dollars for one execution (Kovera, 1142). Lastly, in New Jersey, it has been evidenced that capital punishment has cost the state about 253 US million dollars in taxpayers’ money. The above values can easily cater for criminal’s rehabilitation.
In summary, it has to come to the understanding of society that the death penalty is immoral in principle. To some extent, it’s also discriminatory and unfair in its practice, as it has been indicated. Today no one deserves to die. As a result, in a civilized society, individuals should reject the principles that advocate doing to criminals what they did to their victims since it has been evidenced to be a remnant of societies regarded as uncivilized.
Conklin, Michael. “White Paper: Innocent Or Inconclusive: Analyzing Abolitionists’ Claims about the Death Penalty.” Neb. L. Rev. Bulletin (2018): 1.
Loewy, Arnold H. “Why Capital Punishment Should Be Abolished.” Tex. Tech L. Rev. 51 (2018): 31.
Kyambalesa, Henry. “The Death Penalty: Arguments For and Against.” Available at SSRN 3474715 (2019).
Azamjonovich, Ismoilov Ihtiyorjon. “The death penalty for a crime and its philosophical and legal aspects.” ACADEMICIA: AN INTERNATIONAL MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH JOURNAL 11.1 (2021): 1376-1381.
Kovera, Margaret Bull. “Racial disparities in the criminal justice system: Prevalence, causes, and a search for solutions.” Journal of Social Issues 75.4 (2019): 1139-1164.
Delvin, Amanda et al. “Which US States Still Have The Death Penalty?”. The Sun, 2020, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2585888/death-penalty-states-us-executions/.