An Argument Against the Death Penalty

Essay by kelso2utdHigh School, 12th gradeA+, June 2004

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"The death penalty is no more effective a deterrent than life imprisonment... It is also evident that the burden of capital punishment falls upon the poor, the ignorant and the underprivileged members of society," this once said Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. In the United States, the death penalty is often promoted as a way to deter violence and make society safer, yet scientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that executions discourage crime more effectively than alternative punishment. As well, Ninety-five percent of all people sentenced to death could not afford their own attorney, showing a large discrepancy of the death penalty being applied between the rich and the poor. Blacks and whites are the victims of murders in equal numbers across the United States. Most murders in the United States are occur within the same race, yet eighty percent of the executed were black males convicted of murdering whites.

In addition, the death penalty has resulted in the death of six people who were later proven non-guilty. Since 1973 over one hundred death row prisoners have been released in the U.S. due to evidence of innocence. Because human justice remains, in fact fallible, the risk of executing the innocent will never be eliminated.

Some may argue that if a one is to commit murder, then it is only right that they should be executed for their punishment. The most common use of executing is lethal injection, which causes a death that some may describe as "swift and painless." They can argue that the minute amount of pain experienced by the murderer on death row does not even begin to compensate for the pain of the victims. As well, the supporters claim that it is more cost effective to put an inmate to death rather...