Thursday, May 5, 2011

Capital Punishment... Is it Really Worth It?

                Ever since the 16th century, capital punishment was used on people for committing large amounts of crime where jail was not an option. Many people encouraged the death penalty back in the early years of the United States, but times have changed and so does the death penalty. In the past years, more and more inmates have been sent on to death row, waiting for their day to be executed because of the death penalty. This operation can cost a lot of money that this nation does not have at the time. There are many other complications in the United States today that is in dire needs of money that the death penalty has. Why waste all this money on putting a convict out of his misery? Is criminal punishment really worth it?
Cartoon about banning the death penalty

                  I understand that there are people in the world that still believe in the death penalty. They believe that prison is for people who want to change so when they get out of jail they will be a new person. Therefore, people think there is no point in wasting space in a prison when they can’t change for the outside world. People who are for criminal punishment also acknowledge that the prison is a safer place with less violent people in the prison. Another reason they think the death penalty is better than abolishing it is because they think death is better than prison for life with no parole. Lastly, people who have thoughts against abolishing the death penalty think that the person who committed the crime should have the same consequences as the crime they committed. They think that an “eye for an eye” justice will help the situation and make everything better than normal. I understand that everyone has their own opinion and has their own right to express it, but how can you mourn and think about what you have done when you are executed? By using criminal punishment, the prisoner that is getting executed is not going to think about what he has done and why he is not going to see the outside world for the rest of his life. He gets to take the easy way out with death. A person that is on death row agrees with that statement.
Ad to stop criminal punishment
                  While researching for why criminal punishment should be abolished, I came upon a blog. I found this blog very interesting because the blogger was a man on death row since 1984. On his blog, people would ask questions about their lives, and ask for any advice that could cheer them up, or help them out with their situations in their personal life. The bloggers name is Vernon Evans. One question a guy asked to Vernon really caught my eye. “Do you think that the worst punishment is life in prison or a death sentence?” Vernon answered this question by saying this, “Life in prison is a slow death, but at least if you take that slowness and create something good, it will always in my opinion be better than the death penalty. You cannot atone from death but you can make a difference alive.” Vernon is on death row and thinks it is better to stay in prison for the rest of your life than by getting out of your troubles through death. He is also correct when he says you can’t expiate from death, but you can make a difference when you are alive. Vernon is giving advice from a jail cell that is helping people deal with their problems every day. He made a difference with the way he lived his life, and made the choice to help others that needed it. That is something you cannot do when you are sitting on the death bed, getting ready to be executed because of the death penalty. Not only would abolishing criminal punishment help the people in prison, it would also help people in the outside world.
                  In 2008, Nancy Oliveira wrote an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about how schools in California sacrifice without items they need for school because of the funding the death penalty needs. In California, the state pays approximately $117.35 million annually to keep the death penalty in California. There are 673 people that are on death row. After doing the math, that is roughly $174,368.50 per person on death row. That is way too much money being funded when there are bigger problems in the state of California. In 2008, California went from 49th in the nation to 50th in the nation for per pupil funding for education. California is spending all that money for capital punishment when schools in the state do not have enough money for kid’s education. This isn’t just a problem in California; it is causing problems all around the nation.
Number of people on death row in Ohio
Ohio is another state that is having problems with capital punishment. Although Ohio isn’t having as big as a money problem as California is, they are having problems with properly proving that the person that was sent to death row was guilty. In Ohio, there are 157 inmates on death row, and 43 of those inmates were sentenced before the 1996 law that gave juries the option of being sentenced to jail for life without parole. Because of the lack of certainty of the evidence some of those Ohio inmates got to walk free. Kenney Rickey was in on death row in an Ohio prison for 21 years before an appeals court discovered his attorney was incompetent and the arson expert who testified was actually not an expert. He is now free and not in prison. Joe D’Ambrosio was on death row in Ohio for 20 years. A judge ruled that prosecutors withheld ten pieces of evidence in his trial, and he is now a free man. There are also some other people on death row in Ohio that are wrongfully convicted. This proves that Ohio’s capital punishment could be killing innocent people, which is wrong and is another reason why the death penalty should be abolished.
Death penalty rally in Texas
                  Other statistics can show why many people think that capital punishment should be abolished. From 1976 to 1996, executions in the United States increased from zero to sixty. However, the homicide rate per 100,000 people remained constant at a little under ten. Also, 67 percent of U.S. police chiefs do not believe that the death penalty reduces the number of homicides in a significant amount. If the people of the United States and a large majority of the police chiefs in the United States do not believe in the death penalty, and it is not persuading people to stop the homicides and murders, than why do it? Abolishing capital punishment can have many financial benefits to states that need more money for different complications they have.
                  Abolishing the death penalty could bring in more money for more useful means for states in the United States. In California, some schools do not have enough money to give each child a textbook. Also in California, some schools can’t afford sports uniforms, musical instruments, computers and printers. Abolishing the death penalty in California would save an estimated amount of $90 million dollars. This money could go to schools that don’t have the money to afford their textbooks and other needs the public schools need. In Texas, a capital punishment case costs taxpayers an average of $2.3 million. That is about three times the cost of putting someone in a single cell in prison for forty years. $3.2 million is used in Florida for each execution. Lastly, the estimated amount of $118 million can be used in the state of New York when they implement the death penalty. Saving all of this money can help the states and the people of state in many ways. It is not like there is not a solution to this problem. There are many different ways to abolish the death penalty.
Number of people on death row from 1973-2006
                  Instead of having all of those people on death row, prisons can sentence those people to permanent imprisonment. That would be worse than letting the prisoner basically getting away with what they have done. Putting them in prison for the rest of their lives will let them think about what they have done and to think about why they are in prison. Also, it would allow the prisoners’ families to move on with their lives other than mourning about the death of their loved one.
                  In conclusion, abolishing the death penalty has many positives to it. It can save money for more important problems in the United States, possibly not take the lives of innocent people and give the prisoners a long and hard life of thinking what they have done. I feel that if we did abolish capital punishment, the nation would be a better place and people would feel that those prisoners got that was coming to them. With all of these positives that could help our nation, ask yourself again, is criminal punishment really worth it?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Should the death penalty be abolished?

I am going to research if the death penalty should be abolished or not.