English Comp. I A
25 October 1996
In 1643 a sixteen year old boy was put to death for sodomizing a cow. Three
hundred and fifty years later, sixteen states have legitimized the execution of juveniles.
Four of those twelve states have lowered the legal age of execution to twelve. For
whatever reasons the death penalty has been supported by the public since this country's
existence. In this day and age of increasing violence, both juvenile and adult, it is time to
re-examine the use of the death penalty as the ultimate solution to crime. The social
repercussions of enforcing the state executions of juveniles far outweigh any of the benefits
that may be gained.
The cry for the death penalty is most loudly heard when referring to it as use of a
deterrent. According to Allen Kale 'it is estimated that about 76% of the American public
support the use of the death penalty as a deterrent, however that support drops to less than
9% when referring specifically to juveniles.'
(Kale 1) The mindset of the American public
seems to be drastically different when dealing juveniles. And yet, with only 9% of the
public supporting the policy, it remains in effect.
Another strong outcry for the death penalty comes from those wanting restitution
for the death of a loved one. It is the thought that a life is the ultimate price to pay which
fuels this argument. The delineation between adults and juveniles is much less clear on this
point. Age doesn't seem to make much of a difference when dealing with restitution. Putting
an individual to death seems to put the minds of certain individuals at ease. This argument
is what makes that 9% seem to be the vast majority.