Should the US Keep the Death Penalty?

Capital punishment, or more commonly known as the death penalty, is legal in the majority of states in the U.S. The exact number of states that have legalized capital punishment, is twenty-seven states, but Iowa isn’t one of them. This brings up the question, should the United States. keep capital punishment, or abolish it? The question is not just based on ethics, it is also a question about the process. You see, there are problems with the process to reach only one end goal, ending a life.


First of all, a big problem with capital punishment is that it takes way too long to even kill the prisoner on death row. On average, an inmate on death row will stay on death row for about 19 years, but they can even stay on death row for well after 40 years. During this time that a murderer stays on death row, the victim’s family will probably have already mourned and moved on, and many have probably passed away too. You could even raise a family in that time, and the kids and grandparents, if any, wouldn't have even known the person who had died. It’s just too little too late. It not only takes too long, it’s way too expensive. A study at Susquehanna University showed that on average, death row inmates cost about 1.12 million dollars more than the average inmate. This cost equates to heightening taxes for the general public to kill someone.


Is the risk of killing an innocent by keeping the death penalty even worth it? Because of human error in judgment, it is almost certain that some may be wrongly convicted and be sentenced to death. According to the research of Bruce Levin of Columbia University, he showed how errors in death penalty cases are magnitudes higher than in any other case. The study showed that around 4.1% of death row inmates may have been wrongly convicted. Take this with a grain of salt though, because the study doesn’t show how or who is wrongly convicted. Personally, I believe that the false conviction rate is higher than others, but not as high as 4.1%, I would say it's around 1-2%. In 1989, Carlos DeLuna was executed for the fatal stabbing and robbery at a convenience store in Texas. After the execution, another investigation was launched by Professor James Liebon which uncovered powerful evidence of Carlos’s innocence and was wrongly executed.


Some people may even argue that the punishment of life in prison could be worse than sentencing them to death. If a criminal who had murdered someone was sentenced to life in prison, then the criminal would have to live the rest of his life in monotony and contemplating what he had done forever. He would be so close to civilization, yet the prison keeps him from luxury and can break all hope. Some may also say that the government shouldn’t be trusted with the power to end peoples’ lives. With corrupt government officials and not being able to even decide on minimal issues in comparison to the death penalty, this power could possibly be abused by the federal government. If you are a fan of limiting the government’s powers, you should not want capital punishment.


In my opinion, although there are situations where the death penalty would not be unethical and should be used, keeping it just is not worth the risk. All in all, the United States should just not keep the death penalty as a punishment for criminals. This is because capital punishment is an expensive and long process, there is a risk of innocents being killed, life in prison could be worse, and we shouldn’t trust the government with this power. So, what do you think?






Do you think that we should keep the death penalty?


Do you think we should trust the government to fairly enforce capital punishment?


Do you believe that the risk of innocents dying is worth punishing the criminals?


Why or why not?

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  • Really good job Ben! The only issue is that this topic has been done a couple times already this year. That comes with a ten point deduction.

  • I don't think that the death penalty should be kept. I don't think it should be kept because it uses a lot of money and can take up a big amount of time to do. I also don't think that it is fair the the government gets to decide the value of someones life and if they get to live or not. Over all I don't think that the death penalty should be kept. 

  • I don't believe that we should keep the death penalty. I don't believe that we should trust the government to fairly enforce the capital punishment. Just for the fact that a lot of it could become political and other reasons. 

  • I don't think that the death penalty should be kept because of the amount of money that is uses and the fact that even if someone did something horrrible they don't deserve deatrh for it. The death penalty have kill 190 inocent people and those are only one we know of since most inmates aren't further investigated after their death.

  • The death penalty should be kept because death a good deterant for alot of people who want to commit seroiues crime. I persanally think we should have more painfull death penaltlies as a bigger deterant.

    • I agree that the death penalty could deter some from committing serious crimes; however, I don't think we should make it more painful because it would violate the eighth amendment of the Constitution. If we did this, some would most likely sue the government.

  • I think that the death penalty should be something we should keep. It would give a lot of closure to the familys of the victims. The government should be able to enforce capital punishment. The criminals who killed innocent people shole be senctenced to death automatically.

  • Yes, for the simple reason is if you take a life you owe a life. I believe that if people did something wrong but maybe it wasnt there fault. But yes because if it wasnt here people would end up taking advantage of it. So yes i believe they should keep the death penalty 

  • Im not completely sure if i agree or not. I agree that there are people out there who kinda deserve it and should be put on death row, however, like you stated, there could be human errors and someone innocent could get sentenced to death. I also see the side where with some major killers getting sentenced to death would be like an "easy way out" and jail would be torture and more painful for them to go through. Like I said I see both sides so its really either or. Both have positive and negative effects. 

  • Yes, I think the US should keep the death penalty. Because, many of the people on death row deserve to die but there is one thing I would change about it. Say someone like Ted Bundy was still alive and on death row they should be able to torture him and but him through the same pain he put many other people. But I also think they should leave it up to the states and let them decide if they want it or not.

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