Should the death penalty be banned?Is it really just to kill people? Personnally I think it devaluates the human life and it speaks to our lowest instincts. Also, they have been many mistakes. Many...

Should the death penalty be banned?

Is it really just to kill people? Personnally I think it devaluates the human life and it speaks to our lowest instincts. Also, they have been many mistakes. Many innocent people spend years waiting. Each time the door opens they don't if it's to free them or if it's to tell them they're going to die...

What do you think?

Expert Answers
e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In agreement with two points made above:

One of the most compelling arguments to me in favor of abolishing the death penalty ends up being the financial argument. Many people sentenced to death spend decades on death row pursuing appeals and other legal recourses to save their lives. By all accounts this is a costly process. These inmates would be cheaper to house if they were not on death row and they would have less to appeal, tying up fewer resources and taking up less court time.

Another highly compelling argument against the death penalty is that we do not equally apply the death penalty. Statistics show that race distinctly biases the assignment of punishment in cases where the death penalty is available. Justice is not a racially determined concept and so, until punishments can be made free of racial determination/bias, the death penalty should not be assigned to anyone. 

On a more personal level, I believe that killing is wrong unless it is a situation of self-defense or war. The death penalty does not qualify in this regard. However, I fully recognize that other people feel the death penalty is both just and functional as a punishment and as a deterrent.  

carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Research indicates that it costs more to execute a criminal than it does to sentence him to life in prison.  The disparity in the cost comes from the appeals procedure which may last as long as fifteen years.  The taxpayers during this time pay for the procedures as well as house and feed the criminal in the death house which usually has a much stronger security system than the regular prison.  

In addition, there are have been many criminals who have been proven innocent based on new scientific methods including DNA.  There may been criminals who have been executed who were innocent but had no chance to use the new methods.  In Oklahoma City during the 1990s, one woman was found to have manipulated several cases based on a bias that she held. When man is involved,there will be mistakes. 

Furthermore, I am not positive that it is the right of the state to take the life of an individual.  I have read the Bible and have heard the arguments.  The state should keep the individual locked up for the rest of his life.  Let God do the ultimate punishing. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that you're exaggerating how it works, at least in advanced countries.  It's not as if they just take you out one day and kill you without you knowing in advance, so that last sentence is a bit over done.

I would probably end it if I could with the possible exception of serial or mass murderers.  My reason for this is that human beings can't really determine in any sort of fair way which murderers deserve to die and which do not.  We don't impose the death penalty for all killers, meaning we have to pick and choose who dies.  I don't know that we are able to do that without just giving in to our biases.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is always a controversial issue and people's opinions seem to be pretty well cemented regardless of what evidence they are exposed to. It just comes down to a matter of whether or not it is right to put a person to death for a certain kind of crime.

I often think that death penalty supporters are really experiencing a need for "revenge" that can only be satiated by death. Then again, I sometimes feel that the death penalty is appropriate for a particularly heinous crime. If I can't even make up my own mind, I can't really expect most of the country to come to any sort of consensus.

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If a heinous crime is committed and there is irrefutable proof as to the guilt of the perpetrator, then I am not against it. However, there have been so many cases in the past of people being falsely accused and years later, the case is overturned that in my opinion, it has to be an ironclad case before using the death penalty. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It might speak to our lower instincts, but it is helpful to some people to feel that the person who took a loved one's life will also give a life.  If you do not look at this as revenge, you could say that society is safer without some people in it.