Currently, three percent of the 19,000confirmed executions in
Currently, the United States is the only western democracy that still hascapital punishment on the books. Even South Africa has eliminated it. The UnitedStates is left with such company as Libya, Iran, and Iraq. America, wherefreedom and democracy are firmly entrenched, remains committed to this brutaland dehumanizing form of punishment. The goal of the death penalty is revenge.
It is not a deterrence of crime, as the death penalty has been proven not todeter crime. Capital punishment is nothing more than an outlet for the bloodlustof the American people. Capital punishment is unjust, and it is not an effectivedeterrent of crime. Does the government have the right to kill? A policemandefending the safety of the public by firing on an armed and dangerous criminalmight have that right. Suppose we apply the same standards to the governmentthat we have for civilians.
A civilian at home can legally shoot at an intruder,but if the civilian catches the intruder, incapacitates him, and then shoots himthat act would be considered murder. That is what capital punishment is–murder.Also, capital punishment is an unjust punishment. Currently, the death penaltyis divided along racial lines. In Georgia, a person accused of killing a whiteperson was 4.
3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than a person accusedof killing a black person (Hood 25). Arkansas, Illinois, North Carolina, andMississippi showed similar statistics. Also, each year, only two percent ofdeath sentences are given to women. Since 1608, three percent of the 19,000confirmed executions in the United States were women (Hood 37). Finally, thedeath penalty does not deter crime. Proponents for the death penalty argue thatthe death penalty deters violent crimes.
Statistics show the opposite. TheUnited States is the only Western nation that still allows the death penalty,and it still has one of the highest crime rates. In the 1980’s, the deathpenalty states averaged an annual rate of 7.
5 criminal homicides per 100,000crimes while abolition states averaged a rate of 7.4 criminal homicides per100,000 crimes (Greenberg 25). Murder was more common in states with the deathpenalty.
In a nationwide survey of police chiefs and sheriffs, capitalpunishment was ranked last as a way of reducing crime (Greenberg 26). Also, thetheory behind the deterrence doctrine is flawed itself. Murderers do not examinerisk charts before they kill.
Being criminal is inherently irrational. Lifeimprisonment ought to deter a rational person. No criminal commits a crimethinking that he will be caught. The death penalty is wrong, unfair, and isproven not to deter crime.
Coretta Scott King spoke out against the deathpenalty saying that: As one whose husband and mother-in-law have died thevictims of murder assassination, I stand firmly and unequivocally opposed to thedeath penalty for those convicted of capital offenses. An evil deed is notredeemed by an evil deed of retaliation. Justice is never advanced in thetacking of a human life. Morality is never upheld by a legalized murder (Amnesty6).BibliographyAmnesty International Report. The Death Penalty. England: AmnestyInternational Publications, 1979.
Greenberg, Jack. Taking Sides. Boston: TheDushkin Publishing Group, March 1995. Hood, Roger. The Death Penalty: A WorldWide Perspective. Oxford: Clarendon Press, May 1989.Legal Issues