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Daniel Sizoo
HELA II
Rager 6
18 February 2015
Capital Punishment
Capital punishment has been a controversial topic for decades. People have very strong
opinions on both sides of the issue. Research has shown that the death penalty is too costly and
is not an effective crime deterrent. If the system is so inefficient, why havent all states abolished
it?
Capital punishment should be abolished. Since 1978, there have been 900 prisoners on
death row in California and only 13 have been executed in all these years (Banks A.2). It is more
likely for death row prisoners to die from natural causes than the death sentence because they can
wait up to 25 years on death row (Banks A.2). Many studies have shown that capital punishment
does not deter crime. In fact, murder rates are much lower in states that do not have the death
penalty. 80% of death row executions take place in the South and southern states have the
highest regional murder rate (Facts).
Many who believe in capital punishment say that it is cheaper to kill someone than
sentence them to life in prison. This is false. The death penalty costs much more because death
row is more expensive than prison and the execution itself is costly (Temkin A.13). California
taxpayers have spent $4 billion on the death penalty and $184 million is added to the budget each
year (Banks A.2). In a survey done in California, 48% of people said they would support
abolishing capital punishment if the prisoner was sentenced to life without parole (Banks A.2).

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Another reason capital punishment should be abolished is because innocent people can
and have been killed by it. According to a recent study, more than 4 percent of inmates
sentenced to death in the United States are probably innocent. (Shocking Number Of
Innocent People Sentenced To Death, Study Finds ). It is too much of a price to pay if an

innocent person is executed. Greg Dobbs talks about how a criminal who enacts such a sadistic,
malicious, or evil crime like murdering someone should be killed themselves (Dobbs D.4). But
do we have the right to play God and decide when to end a life? It is morally wrong to execute
someone. It is not the right or the responsibility of a state to decide whether someone lives or
dies. The ways prisoners are executed are often cruel and inhumane. After being injected, it
took Dennis McGuire 26 minutes to die and during that time he was gasping repeatedly (End
Capital Punishment A.6). Michael Lee Wilson was given a lethal injection and his last words
were I can feel my whole body burning (End Capital Punishment A.6).
Perhaps the most compelling argument against capital punishment is the way it impacts
the families of the victims. They are often traumatized from the horror and would rather have
the prisoner sentenced to life, where they are not reminded about them. The death sentence gives
the prisoner publicity, which is what the criminal wants sometimes. (King 1). It also reminds the
victim and criminals family of the horror they have been through (King 3). King explains the
execution process re-opens an emotional wound for these families (King 2). He also talks about
how it can

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Works cited:
King, Rachael. "The Impact of Capital Punishment on Families Defendants and Murder Victims'
Family Members." (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
"The Innocent and the Death Penalty." The Innocence Project - The Innocent and the Death
Penalty. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
"End Capital Punishment." Buffalo News. 01 Feb. 2014: A.6. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 18 Feb.
2015.
Temkin, Moshik. "How to Kill the Death Penalty." Los Angeles Times. 27 May 2014: A.13. SIRS
Issues Researcher. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
Banks, Sandy. "Death Penalty? No, It Isn't." Los Angeles Times. 19 Jul. 2014: A.2. SIRS Issues
Researcher. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
"Death Penalty Focus : Facts." Death Penalty Focus : Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2015
McLaughlin, Michael. "Shocking Number Of Innocent People Sentenced To Death, Study
Finds." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
Dobbs, Greg. "State Inmates Convicted of Murder Deserve Their Fates." Denver Post. 17 Mar. 2013:
D.4. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

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