The common arguments for the death penalty are filledwith holes. Imposing the death penalty is expensive and time consuming. Each yearbillions of dollars are spent to sentence criminals to death. Perhaps the most frequentlyraised argument against capital punishment is that of its cost. Other thoughts on the deathpenalty are to turn criminals away from committing violent acts.
A just argument againstthe death penalty would be that sentencing an individual to death prevents future crimes byother individuals. However, criminals are not afraid of the death penalty. The chance of acriminal being sentenced to death is very slim. The number of inmates actually put to deathis far less than it was decades ago.
This decrease in number shows that the death penalty isfaulty. With that being true, many criminals feel that they can get away with a crime andgo unpunished. Also, the less that the death sentence is invoked, the more conflicting itbecomes when it is actually used. Alternative can be found to substitute for the deathpenalty.
A huge misconception of the death penalty is that it saves society the costs ofkeeping inmates imprisoned for long periods of time. Ironically, the cost of the deathpenalty is far greater than the cost of housing a criminal for life. Appeals on the deathpenalty become a long, drawn-out and very expensive process. There are those who crythat we, the taxpayers, shouldn’t have to “support” condemned people for an entirelifetime in prison-that we should simply “eliminate” them and save ourselves time andmoney.
The truth is that the cost of state killing is up to three times the cost of lifetimeimprisonment (Long 80). The process of sentencing one to death is not as simple as itsounds. Once an individual is sentenced to death, he begins to appeal the court decision,which can take many years. In many cases there are many years in between the sentenceand the actual execution. Trial courts cost and prison costs amassed while awaitingexecution, total up to large sums of money.
Additionally, there are costs for prosecutionand defense. Comparing the cost of the death penalty to a life sentence makes the sentenceof life imprisonment sound like a good arrangement. Is it really worth the hassle andmoney to kill a criminal, when we can put them away for life for less money with a greatdeal more ease? The death penalty needs to be revised and altered so that it is more costand time efficient. Supporters of the death penalty claim, is that it is just retribution forsomeone who commits the heinous crime of murder. The death penalty assures that theconvicted murderer is being paid back for his or her wrongdoing, and revenge has beenaccomplished.
If the state is interested in executing convicted killers in order to teach themthe high value that society holds for human life, doing so doesnt accomplish this. Killing aperson to show him killing another is wrong is an injustice in itself (Zimring 76). Thearchaic view of “an eye for an eye” is expressed often by supporters of the death penalty,yet this view is not associated with any other crimes. A court would find it difficult tosentence a rapist to suffer a sentence of rape, as they would have trouble burning downthe house of someone who was convicted of arson. These punishments wouldundoubtedly be considered as cruel and unusual, and would never be permitted in todayssociety. The same views should be held regarding the death penalty.
In addition, theexecuting of a killer to enact revenge will never bring back the life of a victim. At somepoint, the violence must be stopped. The most common rationale for support of the deathpenalty is that of deterrence. Logically, a person who knows that they might be executed ifthey are convicted of a capital crime will think twice before committing the offense. Thefact of this matter is that the majority of the people who do commit these crimes are notvery logical at the time of the offense. There are a great number of murder cases, in whichthe killer was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, psychologically distressed, inemotional turmoil, or in some way or another unable to control their