The Death Penalty And Capital Punishment

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The United States was the only country in the Americas to carry out an execution in 2015, according to Amnesty International (2016). Researchers at the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-for-profit organization that provides the public with information regarding the death penalty, have determined that the United States carried out 1,437 executions since 1976 (2016). However, since the 1990s, the number of executions has steadily decreased, reflecting the recent opinions Americans hold toward the death penalty (Jones 2013). According to a Gallup poll in October 2013, 60 percent of Americans favored the death penalty, while 52 percent believed it was applied fairly to criminals, compared with the 80 percent approval rating of the death penalty in 1994 (Jones 2013). Although there are many possible reasons as to why approval for the use of capital punishment is declining, one reason stands out among many young Americans, the ethicality of capital punishment. The use of the death penalty in the United States has been regarded as a highly controversial topic since the origination of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Although not specifically stated within the Constitution, the death penalty is subtly referred to in the Bill of Rights. Opponents often look toward the Eighth Amendment to support their views, while proponents of the death penalty look toward the Fifth Amendment for support. The Eighth Amendment strictly prohibits excessive bail or fines to be imposed on criminals, as well as the use of cruel and unusual punishments. Some opponents of capital punishment might even go so far as to say it is unconstitutional, however nowhere in the Constitution say that “The use of capital punishment is prohibited.” Going b... ... middle of paper ... ...ct circumstances. However, as all life is worth something on this planet, killing another human being as punishment for a crime is be unethical, and the criminal deserves a different form of punishment in order to realize the severity of their crime. With cases of serial murderers, terrorists, and similar criminals, the use of the death penalty may be warrantable if their actions knowingly and consciously terminated or negatively impacted the life, or lives, of another person, or persons, but since it is unethical, then it should not be a form of punishment the U.S. court system uses. In specific cases with undeniable certainty that the convicted party is guilty of the crime to which they committed then, and only then, could the death penalty be considered an appropriate form of punishment, but an alternative form of punishment should be equally considered as well.
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