Jenna stopped using Capital Punishment because of

Jenna GencoMrs.CasterlinCollege English Period 622 January 2018The Death Penalty, or the term Capital Punishment, has been implemented and criticized throughout centuries by different cultures, countries and many different forms of government.  The Death Penalty has helped punish and eliminate criminals for the crimes they commited.  Many countries have now stopped using Capital Punishment because of their struggle with the moral dilemma.  The United States is one of ten countries that has and uses Capital Punishment.  However, the United States is currently divided on whether Capital Punishment is a viable punishment for our society.  The enforcement of Capital Punishment nationwide decreases the cost of life imprisonment, lowers the number of violent crimes, and frees up funds which would allow for the funding of more educational and government programs.Many countries that do not execute the Death Penalty or have stopped applying it to their justice system, do so because of the flaws that it presents.  One major flaw and criticism with using Capital Punishment is that at times it has lead to the death of innocent people due to errors in the system.  Errors when assigning the Death Penalty can lead to the justice system wrongly accusing someone who might be innocent.  In some cases, “. . . the death penalty allows government officials, who are often corrupt or misinformed, to pursue an irreversible policy of killing with imperfect information” (Whitehead).  Courts convict innocent humans to death, when so-called criminals are proven guilty, based on the evidence and information they are presented with at the time.  Capital Punishment gives the government the right to take a human life which is viewed as unlawful and immoral by some and shows injustice in our system.  Many protesters and people of religious backgrounds, especially the Catholic Church, are strongly against Capital Punishment.  Protesters believe that the death penalty violates our natural rights: “. . . the Supreme Court ruled in March 2002 that the execution of juveniles who committed crimes when under 18 years of age violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment” (“The Death”).  The leaders of the Catholic Church believe that Capital Punishment is an iniquitous act of punishment.  The Catholic Church believes that it not up to us to pass judgement in this way: “The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops launched its Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty on March 21, 2005” (“The Death”).  As a result of this campaign, many people are changing their views on the issue.  Another dramatic flaw that Capital Punishment possesses is its discrimination of race and class.  The Death Penalty is known to target more minorities than the white criminal: “. . . blacks are 40% more likely to be sentenced to death than a white defendant who has committed the same crime” (Whitehead).  In addition, many defendants come from poor communities and don’t have the money to pay for a competent attorney, which is very important when fighting for their life in a trial.  Many  attorneys appointed to them by the courts had “. . . little to no experience in capital cases and were often poorly recompensed” (“The Death”).  Other arguments against the death penalty are that imprisonment is a harsher punishment than death.  In addition, some feel it is cheaper to keep criminals in prison than to sentence them to death row.  Lethal injections, which are used during the executions, are costly when mistakes using these injections occur.  Errors involved with this dangerous injection “. . . has led eight states and the federal system to suspend its use” (“The Death”).  Capital Punishment uses a great deal of the government’s money.  This money that is invested in Capital Punishment could be used for other purposes.  Some people believe that “Abolishing the death penalty would save money to fund public works programs to reduce poverty and child abuse, or simply to reduce taxes and put more money in the pockets of Americans” (Whitehead).  According to some public opinions, these are some of the reasons why  the Death Penalty is not a practical punishment for people who kill.  In reality the main reason for the elevated cost of inmates on death row is the inefficiencies of the process. By avoiding the prolonged legal issues and technicalities the real cost would be a faction of the now perceived cost.  Although Capital Punishment is viewed as a controversial form of punishment, the evidence and process of convicting criminals is becoming more accurate and definitive.  Breakthroughs in medical and scientific research have taken away the uncertainty of errors associated with determining guilt or innocence.  DNA testing eliminates the probability of error.  The advanced technology of  “DNA testing is over 99 percent effective” (Messerli).  With this level of certainty, the right criminal can be proven guilty, leaving no room for error.  Our advancements in scientific and medical technologies are only going to improve as time goes on.  For example, “New mitochondrial DNA methods make it possible to test body fluid samples discovered on victims that can resolve doubt about guilt” (Manning and Rhoden-Trader).  This can greatly help in trials where there might be any chance of indecision.  DNA is definitive and unique: “. . . modern science can reliably and with great accuracy distinguish between the DNA’s of individuals” (“DNA”).  DNA testing is one of the fastest, most accurate ways of determining if an individual is innocent or guilty.Not only is Capital Punishment viewed as a just punishment for heinous crimes, Capital Punishment is also effective in reducing future crimes and violent acts carried out during those crimes.  Capital Punishment is known for preventing crimes from happening again by the same criminal (Messerli).  Also, the death penalty “. . . is an important tool for preserving law and order, and deters crime. . .” (“Death Penalty”).  Any criminals who commits unlawful acts knows that this life-ending punishment is a possibility for them.  The threat of a lifetime of imprisonment may deter some criminals but does not deter all the criminals’ illegal actions (“What’s”).  Crime can still occur.Even from behind the prison walls, a criminal can still carry out their threats through their connections and followers inside or outside of prison.  Charles Manson is a direct example of this.  Charles Manson was a mass murder who spent most of his life in prison.  Charles Manson started a cult “. . . where he accumulated an increasing number of young followers. . .” (“Manson”).  He was directly associated with two mass murders in the summer of 1969.  Charles Manson and a few of his followers were sentenced to death, however the state of California did away with the Death Penalty in 1972.  As a result of that, Charles Manson and his cult followers’ sentences were now changed to life in prison (“Manson”).  Charles Manson ended up spending forty-eight consecutive years in a maximum security prison.  Criminals can do just as much harm in prison as they can out of prison. Charles Manson had continuous followers even during his time behind bars.  Many violent criminals in prison can indirectly commit crimes through other people.  Another example is David Berkowitz alias, “Son of Sam”, a convicted serial killer who has been in prison for over 40 years and counting.  Many criminals who have committed murders and have been given life sentences, can not only influence others on the outside of prison, but can influence other prisons who will soon be freed and back in society.  They can carry on and carry out knowledge learned from people who are lifetime criminals or murderers.  They can learn the ‘tricks of the trade’.  The Mafia is notorious for rewarding  people in and out prison who carry out their orders.  They have been known to order a hit on people from prison or give large amounts of cash to a criminal’s family of convicted members.Recently, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, an inmate who was already sentenced to life in prison, killed a Correctional Officer in prison.  The inmate, Jessie Con-ui killed Correctional Officer Eric Williams by stabbing him repeatedly.  The jury was unsure about giving Jessie Con-ui the Death Penalty, so they sentenced him to a life in prison without parole, which essentially was what he already had (Blackburne).  So in essence, he received no punishment for the murder of a Correctional Officer.  If there is no death sentence for people like Jessie Con-ui then there is nothing to stop him from killing again. Another reason the Death Penalty should be upheld is to eliminate the possibility of murderers escaping from prison, which has happened in the past.  When this occurs, we occupy numerous law enforcement agencies from numerous states.  This puts police in dangerous situations and also puts law abiding citizens on high alert.  Citizens are fearful of going out and suspend living their normal life, which also can affect local businesses.  These are costs that are not factored in when analyzing the Death Penalty.  These criminals would not have an affect on the outside world if the death sentence was originally enforced.Capital Punishment also guarantees closure for the victim, along with the suffering members of the victim’s family.  Knowing that the criminal who killed your loved one is no longer alive to hurt anyone else, helps the suffering family to cope.  It’s just common sense that “No executed criminal has ever harmed another innocent human being” (Hunter).  If the criminal was still alive, it would be a constant reminder to the victims’ families.  As all family members can attest, “Waiting for justice to happen in death penalty cases has become an inexcusably long process for families of victims” (Hunter).   Knowing that some of their tax dollars is going towards supporting the criminal does not make it easier.  Every time the prisoner is up for parole, the victim’s family is forced to relive their horrifying experience.Although it has been said that prison is less expensive than the Death Penalty, this has been proven to be untrue.  The Death Penalty is essentially cheaper than housing criminals in prison for life.  It only seems like the Death Penalty costs more than life in prison because of the time it takes to actually execute someone on death row.  For example, “In California, the slowest state in the Union, the average wait time for someone sentenced to death is 20 years between conviction and execution.  The national average is just under nine years” (“Which is”).  If the justice system diminished the time between when the criminal was sentenced and when the execution would actually occur, it would be immensely cheaper than keeping that criminal in prison for the duration of his life. The cost right now seems more expensive because of the inefficient legal system and the fact that the use of Capital Punishment is so controversial.  The Death Penalty takes too long to implement due to factors such as protests and lack of evidence in court.  The longer it takes to carry out the act of the Death Penalty, the more expensive it costs.  Also, Capital Punishment helps with the problem of prisons being overpopulated.  Overpopulated prisons are costly and dangerous and create more problems due to the need for additional security.  If there are less prisoners there, than less money is needed to be spent on housing and food, and more money can be given to more important government funded programs.  All the tax money that goes to house, feed, and take care of medical needs for criminals in prison can be used for other government programs such as education.  For example, there are almost always budgets cuts for schools and education.  In a 2014 report posted by the Hamilton Project, it stated that the United State spends over 80 billion dollars on inmates and there are over 2.4 million people incarcerated in the United States. That number increases every year. CNN shows that the amount of money spent on prisoners far exceeds the money we spend on education per student.  The annual cost per inmate in New York  is over $60,000.00 per year. This number also increases every year. The cost of a maximum security inmate runs much higher than the average.  Maximum security inmates,  as well as regular inmates,  are entitled to amenities that the general population has to pay for, such as cable television, health care and if needed special surgeries (Raphael and Stoll).            State and local educational funding have decreased since 2008, and in a Federal Budget report by Ed Walz,  he list several other cuts that affect children.  The list includes:  educational funding dropped 19.8% from 2011 to 2015, child abuse and neglect prevention programs dropped 12% from 2010 to 2015, housing funding allocated to children decreased by 5.2% and “WIC”  a program for women, infants and children funding was cut by 8% during that same time frame.  If we did not have to give so much money to house these prisoners, we would have more money for programs that would help improve our society’s future (“The 15”).      The widely debated issue of whether or not we should use Capital Punishment is argued by many people today. Even though many people have doubts about implementing Capital Punishment, Capital Punishment is a more efficient and cost effective way to punish criminals for their actions while reducing the cycle of future crimes and illegal actions throughout the United States.  There are at least ten countries that implement the Death Penalty.  The United States is one of those countries, however only thirty-one out of the fifty states actually puts Capital Punishment into effect.   Capital Punishment should be executed when there is indisputable evidence of a killer.  There are many cases like that such as the Oklahoma bombing, the Long Island railroad shooting, or the Las Vegas massacre.  In these cases there should be no waiting for court trials, everything would be expedited, and these cases would take top priority.  The cost of capital punishment is not a realistic cost due to the inefficiencies of the legal system.  Once we are united as a country on this issue we a can  accentuate the benefits of capital punishment.  Tax money should go towards investing in our future through programs for children rather than being wasted on convicted murderers of the past.   Works CitedBlackburne, Carolyn. “Inmate Who Murdered Correctional Officer Formally Given Life Sentence.” WNEP.com, 12 Oct. 2017.”Death Penalty ProCon.Org.” Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?, 3 Jan. 2018.”DNA Testing and the Death Penalty.” American Civil Liberties Union.Hunter, Derek. “The Death Penalty Is an Effective Punishment.” Death Penalty, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2015. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context.Manning, Will, and Jacqueline Rhoden-Trader. “Rethinking the Death Penalty.” Corrections Today, vol. 62, no. 6, 2000, p. 22. General OneFile.”Manson, Charles 1934-.” American Decades, edited by Judith S. Baughman, et al., vol. 7: 1960-1969, Gale, 2001. Student Resources in Context.Messerli, Joe. “BalancedPolitics.org.” Death Penalty (Pros & Cons, Arguments For and Against, Advantages & Disadvantages).Raphael, Steven, and Michael A. Stoll. A New Approach to Reducing Incarceration While Maintaining Low Rates of Crime. Brookings, 2014, pp. 1-36.”The Death Penalty: ‘Tinkering’ to Good Effect.” America, vol. 196, no. 6, 19 Feb. 2007, p. 5. EBSCOhost.”The 15 states with the highest cost per prisoner.” WPIX 11 New York, 29 April 2016.”What’s better: Death penalty or life in prison?” Florida Times Union, 29 Mar. 2009, p A-15. Infotrac Newsstand.”Which Is Cheaper, Execution or Life in Prison Without Parole?” Hg.org.Whitehead, John W. “The Death Penalty Should Be Abolished.” Criminal Justice, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context.

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