The Death Penalty in Modern Society

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Since the reinstatement of the death penalty by the Supreme Court in 1976 there have been 1,245 criminals legally put to death as a punishment for a multitude of disturbing crimes (6). The death penalty’s reinstatement as a possible punishment for crimes ranging from treason to murder has brought the constitutionality and morality of the punishment into question by anti-capital punishment protesters. This has led to a great deal of debate between pro- and anti- capital punishment supporters. Defenders of the death penalty state that it is an effective deterrent and punishment for murder (1), while the opposing side claims that it is the definition of hypocrisy at an ultimate and inhumane level (2). The question of whether or not we should implement the death penalty elicits many valid arguments on both sides. Citizens of a nation with the death penalty should all understand the argument because it is the “state” that decides whether or not we should execute another person and it is the citizens as a collective body who make up the “state”. This topic should be of particular concern for many Texans, because Texas has consistently led the nation in number of executions per year (about 30 per year making up 466 of the nearly 1,300 nationwide since 1976) (8). This being said, where does the death penalty fit in modern society if it fits at all?

In 1972 the United States Supreme Court ruled capital punishment unconstitutional and ended the practice throughout the nation. Four years later, in response to a rapidly growing crime rate, the Supreme Court repealed this decision and allowed each state to decide whether or not to exercise the use of capital punishment and for what crimes it would be used (5). Sixteen states have since banne...

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