Capital Punishment: Its Ineptitude And Faults Essay, Research Paper
The death penalty is not an effective solution to any of society s criminal problems and a cruel, inappropriate punishment. It is a simple-minded solution to a complex problem. People are under the impression that it is acceptable to just throw away a human life similar to garbage. We are living in a generation of the disposable human being. People may jokingly ask What will they think of next? The problem though is that it appears that no one is thinking at all. Capital punishment is legal in 38 of 51 (District of Columbia included) states. There have been 616 executions in these states since 1976 and almost half of those executions were carried out in Texas and Virginia alone. Executions per year are becoming foolishly higher each year. And still, our national murder rates continue to increase. Supporters of the death penalty claim that its purpose is to reduce murder rates. However, statistics prove the error behind this reasoning. The South is responsible for 80% of executions yet has a murder rate higher than national average. In comparison, the Northeast has handled less than 1% of executions and holds murder rates much lower than national average. Also relative to this point is the fact that murder rates of non-death penalty states equal approximately half of the rates in states where capital punishment is legal. Therefore, the death penalty is ineffective in lowering murder rates. Other negative factors of the death penalty include the high costs, hypocrisy, and barbarism. Many people ignorantly believe that it costs more to hold a criminal in prison for life than it costs to kill them. This belief is far from correct. Executions have cost $1,000,000,000 more than life imprisonment cases since 1976. Defense costs in death penalty cases are four times higher than life imprisonment cases. Prosecution costs are 67% higher than that. An example of funds spent on one particular execution is the Wilford Berry case. The state of Ohio spent at least $1.5 million to kill one mentally ill man named Wilford Berry. Among the costs were: $18,147 overtime for prison employees and $2,250 overtime for State Highway Patrol Officers at the time of execution. The state spent $5,320 on a satellite truck so that the official announcement of Berry s death could be beamed to outside media. The drugs used in the lethal injection cost $88.42. Attorney General Betty Montgomery had 5 to 15 prosecutors working on the case. Between 5 and 10 percent of the annual budget for Ohio s capital-crime section was devoted to the Berry case for 5 years. Keeping him in prison for life would have cost about half as much.
Besides the financial aspects, another fault of the capital punishment system is its barbaric nature. There are 5 legal methods of execution – lethal injection, electrocution, hanging, gas chamber, and firing squad. The most common methods are lethal injections and electrocution. Lethal injection uses a three drug combination to kill the criminal. The first drug, sodium thiopental, makes the victim unconscious. The next, pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxant, paralyzes the diaphragm and the lungs. The third, potassium chloride, causes cardiac arrest. People claim lethal injection is the most humane method of execution. How can killing someone ever be described as humane? Where is there a difference between murder and execution? How can the same act performed by two different people be viewed one time as evil and worthy of severe punishment and another time commendable and appropriate? Capital punishment is hypocritical and holds serious double standards. No human has the right to judge another worthy of death. For the double standards to be balanced, there are two options – abolish capital punishment or make murder legal for the public. If it s okay for the government to kill, than maybe those special rights should be extended to the public. Government officials are only human and should not be given the authority to kill people as punishment. How can anyone expect to defeat violence with violence? How can anyone expect to defeat murder with murder? How can anyone expect to defeat anger with anger?