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Dan Greenfield MWF 8:05 AM 8:59 AM English Composition 2 12/07/12 The Death Penalty Crimes are committed every

y day. Some of them worse than others. The worst crimes get the worst punishment. That can mean capital punishment. Capital punishment is just another way of saying legal murder. Should it be allowed? This is one of the most debated issues in the criminal justice system. Hundreds of criminals are being killed legally at the hands of the government every day. Why you may ask, because they were convicted of killing one or more people. But the government can do it and get away with it. The death penalty is wrong and should be outlawed in all 50 states. The reasons why it should be outlawed are: the person could be innocent, it is not a good crime deterrent, and it does not cause closure for a victims families.

The most obvious reason it should be banned is that it is against the law. It says so in our constitution. The Eighth Amendment clearly states that the federal government is prohibited from using cruel and unusual punishment. Most people would have to say that sitting down in a chair and getting electrocuted until your dead or getting poison shoved in your veins is pretty cruel and unusual. Also when you put someone to death for committing murder you are

committing an act of it as well, which is an eye for an eye. Evidently the government seems to not think so.

Another good reason to ban capital punishment is the person who was charged with the murder could actually be innocent and wrongfully accused. This means that an innocent person was put to death when instead they could have been in prison and found innocent later down the line. This makes a huge mess because it makes ordinary people afraid that they could be charged and killed for something they didnt do. It also makes the prosecutors and the judge who convicted them look bad. The Innocence Project program has shown that over 200 inmates, 15 that were on death row, were falsely convicted (Grey, 8). After one person who was innocent ended up being executed the death penalty should have been abolished right then and there. No amount of innocent life is an acceptable loss. The execution of innocent people is a major flaw in the death penalty and should be reason enough to get rid of capital punishment.

People who are for the death penalty say that the death penalty is a good crime deterrent. They say people are less likely to commit acts of murder if they face the chance of being killed themselves. There are plenty of reasons why this is not true. If this was the case then every state would have the death penalty. Homicide rates would be down, and they are not. America's top criminologists believe the threat or use of the death penalty does not reduce homicide rates any more than long-term imprisonment (Radelet, 503). The death penalty in no way acts as a crime deterrent and it does not bring closure to the victims families.

An additional reason people say that there should be a death penalty is that it serves

justice and causes closure for the victims family. Most crimes get a certain amount of prison time; this should be the case for murder to. A family knowing that the person who murdered their loved one is behind bars forever would make them breath a big sigh of relief and let them know that justice was served. Putting to death a murderer is not serving justice it is just a quick fix. It is basically a revenge killing. Richard Morgan, author of Executioners Current said If anything prevents closure, its the death penalty. If you have a trial in which the person is sentenced to life imprisonment, its over, thats it. If the person is sentenced to death, you will be contacted by authorities and will relive that murder every two years for the next 15 years. Then, if they finally do execute the person, then you can start beginning your closure. What it does is, it puts off any healing. Wounds are being reopened and whole process is being prolonged (Berns, 394). The death penalty does not bring their loved one back and more death only brings on more heartache.

Activists say the death penalty makes sure the offender getting executed will never be able to commit another crime. It gets rid of the worst offenders. The scum of the earth you might say. It guarantees that they wont get out of prison and kill again.

This is simply not true. There are people with horrendous crimes that are serving life in prison and people who have just killed one person sitting on death row waiting to be executed. Also, life without parole guarantees they will not get out of prison and kill again. To go over, the death penalty should be banned in all states that have not yet done so. The death penalty causes the death of innocent civilians, it does not deter crime, and gives no closure to the victims

families. There are other punishments that would be much more acceptable. Life in prison without the possibility of parole is a much better sentence for murder than capital punishment. It also cost less. Taxpayers pay seven times more to pursue death penalty cases than it would to try, convict, pursue all appeals, and keep the murderer in prison for the rest of his life without parole (Grey, 5). With the death penalty criminals get an easy ticket out and dont really have time to think about what they did. With life in prison the convict has the rest of his life to think about what he did and why it was wrong. Also life in prison makes the criminal realize what he did was wrong and that he deserves the punishment he is getting. The banning of the death penalty has many positive outcomes and will make the criminal justice system more humane.

Works Cited

Berns, Nancy. "CONTESTING THE VICTIM CARD: Closure Discourse And Emotion In Death Penalty Rhetoric." Sociological Quarterly 50.3 (2009): 383-406. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Dec. 2012.

Gray, James P. "Essay: Facing Facts On The Death Penalty." Loyola Of Los Angeles Law Review 44.3 (2011): S255-S264. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. Radelet, Michael l., and Traci L. Lacock. "Do Executions Lower Homicide Rates?: The Views Of Leading Criminologists." Journal Of Criminal Law & Criminology 99.2 (2009): 489508. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.