The Controversial Issue of Death Penalty

The death penalty has been around for over 150 years, killing criminals and even innocent beings. It is practiced in 31 states in the US, along with other countries. There are many different ways for capital punishment. For example, most places have done away with hanging people in public. The most popular way to go through with the death penalty is now lethal injection. Many believe that this is the least painful, and the least disturbing for the witnesses. Although many are for the death penalty, it should not be allowed as a form of capital punishment.

To begin, many people are for the death penalty and they have their own reasoning for this. The ACLU believes that the death penalty violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment (ACLU). This might be a reason that a large amount of others are against it. Not only is it believed to go against the constitution, but it also is believed that it is a waste of taxpayer funds and has no public safety benefits.

The funding for the death penalty is coming from taxpayers.

In 2011, a study found that California has spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment in 1978. The study also showed that it is 20 times more expensive than imprisoning someone without a possibility of parole (“Facts”). Another issue with the death penalty is the fact that innocent people are sentenced to death too often. (ACLU). Although these are a few of the main reasons people are against the death penalty, there are many more.

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For example, people claim that the death penalty is more expensive than imprisoning someone (Brook). Although this may be true, it is not the leading cause in opposing the death penalty. As said before, innocence plays a role in the opposition of the death penalty. People are sentenced to death often and have later been proven innocent. Luckily, most of the time, the people are found innocent before the execution, but that is not always the case.

In 2010 in North Carolina, two brothers were intellectually disabled when the confessed to rape and murder. The brothers kept their innocence and claimed they did not know they were signing a confession. The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission later discovered that they had found the true criminal. Both men were freed 4 years later in 2014 (“Death Penalty and Innocence”).

Despite the fact many people are against the death penalty, there are the ones who strongly agree. When DNA testing first began in the early 1900s, support of the death penalty raised to 80%. If people could be proven guilty, or innocent, with DNA the America believed it would be okay to punish someone with death (Balko).

Along with the fact that technology has come a long way, there are other reasons for supporting the death penalty. There are things said by people who favor the death penalty such as, “The death penalty is an effective deterrent,” “Murderers deserve to die,” and “The Bible says ‘an eye for an eye”” (Head). This may be the most common thing said when it comes to asking why the death penalty should be allowed. People believe that if someone murders another human being, they deserve to be murdered themselves.

As of 2006, 67% of Americans favored the death penalty for those convicted of murder. Although people say that the death penalty discriminates, it is hardly true. Studies show that African Americans who murder white victims are more likely to be charged with a capital crime (Mulhausen) and sentenced to death. Over the years, studies have determined that there is a link between executions and decreases in murder rates (Mulhausen). It is also said that the death penalty gives closure to the victims’ families (Messerli). For the victims’ family members to be witnesses to the execution, they feel safer knowing that the person is now incapable of doing any more harm.

Another cause for favoring the death penalty is the fact that the executions are not has brutal anymore. Executions have moved past public hangings and are now carried out in front of just a few witnesses. Almost all are done by lethal injection now, most of the time done by doctors. The majority of people would say that most states have moved to lethal injections because it is the least painful and most humane way (Balko).

In conclusion, the debate on death penalty will be a topic that stands for quite a while. In my opinion, I believe the death penalty is brutal and inhumane. I do not believe in ‘an eye for an eye’ and I most certainly do not believe in killing someone because of something they did. Granted, I do believe that people such as murders should be imprisoned for life. Even though this is my opinion, others agree, but it’s quite shocking how many oppose the negativity on the death penalty.

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The Controversial Issue of Death Penalty. (2023, May 16). Retrieved from

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