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Death Penalty Should Not Be Allowed

Introduction

For many years, the death penalty has been used in many countries to punish dangerous offenders such as murderers. However, recently, some nations have abolished capital punishment because of controversies surrounding it and replaced it with other equally severe forms of punishment. This paper seeks to prove that the death penalty should not be allowed.

Objection

Some individuals argue that the death penalty reduces crime rates (Gupta, 2013). Death is a harsh sentence that makes criminals think twice before committing crimes. Consequently, the number of reported offenses significantly reduces. Another argument put forward is that keeping prisoners in jail for the rest of their lives is expensive (Gupta, 2013). Resources used in such cases could be allocated to other important sectors.

Main Argument

Despite police investigations, false and insufficient evidence, misinterpretation of the law, and biased verdicts may lead to the conviction of innocent people for crimes they did not commit. The death penalty is irrevocable as once an execution is carried out, nothing can be changed. Though it is not easy for governments to admit that some errors occur, approximately 140 inmates were exonerated in the United States of America between 1970 and 2011 (Zalman, 2011). Such statistic raises questions about how many innocent people died because of wrongful execution. To prevent the death of innocent people, life imprisonment without parole may be used as an effective alternative to the death penalty. Like the death penalty which is the punishment for serious crimes, life imprisonment is also an equally harsh sentence. The primary aim of the death penalty is to punish the criminal for his/her wrongdoings. Life imprisonment achieves the same aim and gives the police a chance to obtain enough evidence and prove the innocence of accused people. Wrongly convicted individuals may be released later if new evidence is found. However, when they are sentenced to death, an error cannot be rectified (Gupta, 2013). The death penalty violates the right to life, thus, it should be abolished. Furthermore, it is evident that the death penalty cannot considerably reduce crime rates. Some researchers have discovered that crime rates decrease even without the death penalty. In Canada, for example, the homicide rate per one million people was 3.09 in 1975. It dropped to 1.8 by 2000 despite the abolition of capital punishment in 1976 (Gupta, 2013). This statistic proves that the severity of penalties cannot completely address crime problems and other factors should be taken into consideration.

Reply

Those individuals who argue for capital punishment may be wrong since this form of punishment undermines the sanctity of human life. The death sentence is self-defeating in itself when the fear of executing innocent people is considered. The idea that it prevents crimes is a fallacy as countries that do not have the death penalty report lower crime rates (Gupta, 2013). Not only the kind of punishment but also other factors influence crime rates. The opinion that maintaining prisoners is expensive is misleading as well. An execution is more expensive than any life imprisonment (Zalman, 2011). Therefore, this proves that the death penalty is inefficient in comparison with other forms of punishment.

Conclusion

The usefulness of the death penalty is a controversial issue. Capital punishment is irreversible and cannot be corrected. For this reason, it is necessary to use other equally harsh and probably more efficient forms of punishment such as life sentence without the possibility of parole. This alternative serves the same purpose and gives the police enough time to find new evidence and exonerate an innocent person. The death penalty also does not reduce crime rates. All in all, considering the above-mentioned facts, it may be concluded that the death penalty is a too inhumane form of punishment that should be abolished.

References

Gupta M. C. (2013). What are the pros and cons of death penalty? Which method of execution is best? Indian Journal of Clinical Practice, 23(10), 666-669. Retrieved from http://medind.nic.in/iaa/t13/i3/iaat13i3p666.pdf

Zalman, M. (2011, June 21). Convicting the innocent: Where criminal prosecutions go wrong. Portside. Retrieved from http://portside.org/2013-06-21/convicting-innocent-where-criminal-prosecutions-go-wrong