Death Penalty Debate

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The controversial debate over the death penalty has been going on for a very long time and still has no conclusive solution. In the United States that is, most of the rest of the civilized world has done away with the death penalty a long time ago. Many people have different views on this issue. Although, there is a consensus that heinous murders need to be severely punished, there is no consensus on the choice of that punished. The debate over the proper punishment lies between the death penalty and life in prison. Some of the issues that encompass the debate are the morality of the death penalty, the cost of the death penalty as opposed the cost of life in prison, the deterrent effect of the death penalty, family consideration of what punishment the murders should receive, racial and ethnic issues, social class issues, and religious beliefs. Although, many people say that the death penalty debate is mainly a moral one, the economic issues, or the costs of the death penalty, still do play a role in the debate. It is agreed upon by all sides that the death penalty costs significantly more than the other punishment alternative of life in prison without parole. Keeping someone prison for one year at the highest security level cost about $25,000; and approximately $1 million dollars over a period of 40 years. However, a death penalty case which usually involves many appeals and other legal procedures costs approximately $2-3 million dollars (Barkan p. 498). This is not even to mention the fact that the average death row inmate spends approximately 10 years in jail before their execution, a cost which isn't counted in that number. Also, a very small percentage of all the inmates on death row ever get executed; however, the mo... ... middle of paper ... ... shown not to deter crime; which leaves its sole purpose as a form of vengeance against criminals. The system of convicting and sentencing an individual to execution is flawed and discriminatory. It is morally wrong, killing should not be allowed under any circumstances. This view on opposition to the death penalty is held by many criminologists, religious leaders, philosophers, and other socio-academic leaders; yet, politicians use the death penalty as a way of showing the public they want to be tough on crime. Legalizing something so ineffective, brutal, and problematic based on political propaganda is wrong. The American public needs to become well informed on the issues of the death penalty and take a stand to ban it across the US. Bibliography 1. Barkan, Steven E., Criminology: A Sociological Understanding, 2nd Edition; New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001.

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