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Argumentative Essay on Why Death Penalty Should Be Abolished in the US

Death penalty is one of the most controversial issues that have created endless debates in the US and all nations worldwide. The concept of capital punishment, sometimes known as the death penalty, is the notion that a criminal can be executed for the perpetrated crime. Murder and treason are two of the most common capital crimes. In certain nations, other crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, crime against humanity, and adultery have also been designated as capital offenses and committing such crimes results in death. There have been approximately 1400 executions since 1976 in the United States. In the USA, 18 states have abolished the death penalty, while 31 states have the death penalty applied, which means that people are killed due to capital crime convictions. Poor defense, class, and racism and some of the causes of wrongful conviction. Those underprivileged have inadequate money to defend themselves and, therefore, a high possibility of being subjected to such cruel convictions. The point is that the Death penalty should not be legalized in the US as it has no deterrent effect on crime, it allows the government to have the power to take human life, and perpetuates social injustices through discrimination, and hence the US government should use lifetime jail sentences instead.

Death penalty is cruel and is contrary to the right to life as stipulated in the US constitution. The US constitution was founded to safeguard its citizens’ life and right to liberty. The death penalty contravenes the right to life. According to Amnesty International, a human being is a right to life, and freedom from cruel and degrading treatment is inalienable. Therefore, the value of human life cannot be overstated, and it cannot be arbitrarily shortened (Capital punishment in the early 21st century, n.d.). Similarly, the death sentence sends a negative message to the general public. People in society believe that human life is worthless and that anyone who commits a horrific act such as murder deserves to die. Again, for many people, the phrase “An eye for an eye” justifies implementing the death sentence, yet it denotes revenge rather than justice (Nathanson, 2001). Death penalty executions can take years after a person is placed on death row. The individual on death row is subjected to an agonizingly long wait. Such suffering should not be inflicted on any living person. In addition, the execution of the criminal is a heinous crime (Death penalty should be abolished, 2019). The point is that every human life is precious and should be treated with respect.

The death penalty does not deter crime, and for this reason, it should be abolished. Even though the death penalty is not ideal, many people think that it is worth the cost if it deters prospective perpetrators. However, public opinion polls demonstrate that most people do not believe that capital punishment has this effect. More than 80 percent of all executions occur in the United States’ southern states, where homicide rates are greatest. The murder rate is significantly lower in states that do not have a death sentence. Even while other factors are at play, no studies demonstrate that the death penalty is deterrence. Most killings are not spontaneous, premeditated, and are committed out of passion. This explains why so many murderers who are convicted try to defend themselves by trying to justify how extreme provocation made them cause the crime. Most of them are not aware of the severe consequences. Research shows that the death penalty is useless and counterproductive, and it has zero impact on reducing crime. Therefore, the death penalty is cruel, inhuman, and does not prevent further crimes from happening; it should not be in existence, nor should it be implemented.

The death penalty should be abolished because it is racial and class discrimination when executing it. Even though it is in the constitution, it does not affect everyone. For instance, people of color, poor people, and mentally ill people often make up most of those sentenced to death. Poor defense is one of the most common reasons for unjust convictions. Poor people can only afford an inadequate defense team. A wealthy person has a higher chance of acquittal since they can afford to hire an adequate counsel. In 68 percent of all death sentence cases, it has been found guilty simply because of insufficient funds to hire a good defense team. According to Mental Health America, 5-10% of death row inmates suffer from serious mental diseases (Robert, 2016). As for racial groups, black people make up over 40 percent of the convicts given a death sentence despite making up just 13 percent of the US population. The minority groups receive the harshest penalty despite not committing the most crimes. Therefore, it is apparent that the legal system is prejudiced, and for this reason, the death penalty should be abolished in the US.

Since the death penalty imposes a high burden on the legal system and the government, it should be eliminated in the US. After a person is sentenced to death, an appeals procedure must begin. This is a lengthy procedure that may take several years to complete. To put it another way, if a person is on death row, the government uses the taxpayer’s money to cater to the prisoner’s living expenses, pay lawyers, and all the legal procedures involved. It is cheaper to keep a criminal in prison for the rest of her/his life than to put them on death row and execute them later. This is one of the most compelling arguments in favor of abolishing the death penalty.

The final reason why the death penalty is not worth it is that if new evidence comes to light, the death penalty cannot be reversed. Since the death sentence is irreversible, it differs from life in prison in that the decision cannot be overturned even if there is new evidence to justify that the victim was innocent. This is called crime error and is immense in the US today. There are several cases where a person is convicted and later found innocent. For instance, in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, a parent convicted of arson and executed later, he was later found innocent (Dioso-Villa, 2013). This might mean that there can be errors and mistakes committed that can result in an innocent person being sent to his or her death when it comes to execution. There have been several situations in which convicted criminals have been vindicated of their crimes before they have been executed. The death sentence is an excessively harsh punishment in a culture where the judicial system cannot be depended upon to provide justice. This is possibly one of the most compelling arguments for why the death penalty should be abolished, as it has the potential to result in the execution of innocent individuals.

Even though the death penalty does not deter crime, some argue that it deters crime. For example, many individuals do not commit murder recklessly because they are terrified of being apprehended and condemned to death like the victims. People who support the death penalty feel that if the punishment for murder is that the perpetrator will be killed, they will refrain from committing the crime.(Death penalty should be abolished, 2019). Society is trained to learn a lesson from the victims, such as mob justice, where a mob ruthlessly kills a criminal. Nonetheless, this is not always the case; in places like California and Arizona, murder crimes are immense even though the law is imposed(Death penalty should be abolished, 2019). This demonstrates that the death sentence has no effect on crime reduction or deterrence in the real world.

Despite the fact that the death penalty goes against the right to life, others disagree and believe murderers should be executed. This argument is reasonable since the same pain is transferred to the murderer. For instance, it is a basic fact that when Osama Bin Laden killed thousands of people during the 911 attack, the American soldiers conducted an operation that killed Osama 10 years later. In this case, Americans were satisfied and felt that justice had been made. Barack Obama, the then-president, said that “justice had been made” (Osama bin Laden dead, 2016). Another argument favoring capital punishment is that it has been described in religious and biblical texts. According to God’s depiction, a murderer should be put to death if that is what the rule and laws are for humanity to obey.

To conclude, the death penalty should be abolished in the US. This essay has demonstrated that human life is precious, and therefore the death penalty is cruel and against the human right to life. That notwithstanding, the death sentence is worthless since it does little to prevent criminal activity. Even though the death penalty is still imposed, people continue to be victimized, and many of the perpetrators are not terrified of the brutal consequences. Furthermore, we have discovered that the death sentence is exceedingly expensive and maybe a significant financial burden on both the state and the taxpayers. Additionally, a death sentence is final and cannot be reversed even if the victim is innocent. No one is perfect, and for that reason, the legal system can have flaws that can subject innocent people to this cruel act. Again this essay has demonstrated that the legal system has prejudice. There are those that argue that death penalty preventive measure for most crimes. Therefore this cruel penalty is only imposed on certain groups of people, the poor, black people, and the mentally ill. These considerations lead to the conclusion that the death penalty should be abolished in the United States.


Capital punishment in the early 21st century. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica.

Death penalty and people with mental illnesses. (n.d.). Mental Health America.

Death penalty should be abolished. (2019, August 22). Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.

Dioso-Villa, R. (2013). Scientific and Legal Developments in Fire and Arson Investigation Expertise in Texas v. Willingham. Minn. JL Sci. & Tech.14, 817.

Nathanson, S. (2001). An eye for an eye: The immorality of punishing by death. Rowman & Littlefield.

Osama bin laden dead. (2016, December 15).

Robert T. Muller. (2016, October 19). The death penalty may not bring peace to victims’ families. Psychology Today.


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