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Death Penalty


Death penalty entails the government terminating the life of aconvicted offender as a punishment for his/her heinous actions. Theissue of the death penalty has attracted a heated debate over thelast few decades. On one side, its proponents see it as the beststrategy for incapacitating the criminal. This group also argues thatthe death penalty is the only type of punishment that matches thelevel of cruelty of people on the death row most of whom areconvicted murderers. On the other hand, its opponents argue that itviolates human dignity, is irreversible, and targets specific groupsof people in addition to being ineffective in deterring crime. Thispaper opposes capital punishment, arguing that it is barbaric anddoes not serve any purpose in lowering the rate of crimes.

First, death penalty violates human dignity. Human dignity shieldspeople against being subjected to ruthless forms of punishment. Thosewho support capital punishment argue that it is painless however,this is not true. According to the American Civil Liberties Union(2016), it took Don Harding, a convicted offender, about 10 minutesto die during his execution.

Apart from violating the human dignity, the death penalty isirreversible. Records show that many people on death row are wronglyconvicted, and some of them are exonerated later when they arealready dead. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (2016),140 individuals on the death row have been exonerated in 26 statesacross the United States since 1973. As such, the death penaltyshould be abolished since it may result in the murder of innocentpeople.

Besides, records show that certain groups of persons areoverrepresented among people facing the death penalty. This group ofpeople includes the poor and persons who hail from low-incomefamilies. Out of the 4,220 convicted offenders who faced the deathpunishment between 1930 and 1996, 43% of them were black American(American Civil Liberties Union, 2016).

In addition to targeting the poor and individuals from minorityraces, the death penalty is not effective in deterring crime. Therate of crime is higher in states that allow capital punishmentcompared to their counterparts that forbid it (American CivilLiberties Union, 2016)

On the other hand, the proponents of the death penalty argue that itachieves one of the objectives of punishment which is to incapacitatethe offender. Upon being executed, there is no way a criminal cancontinue to victimize his/her fellow prisoners or the peace-lovingcitizens. Besides, some people view the execution of the convictedcriminals as the only way of serving justice for the victims of theirheinous acts(Gavrilš, 2011).

In rebuttal, I think that the action of the government to executethose who mercilessly kill other people does not serve justice to thevictim. Instead, it encourages violence within the society bydepicting vengeance as a positive thing.

In conclusion, the negative consequences of the death penalty by faroutweigh any possible positive outcomes. As such, it should beabolished.


AmericanCivil Liberties Union. (2016). The case against the death penalty.Accessed on November 18, 2016.https://www.aclu.org/other/case-against-death-penalty

Gavrilš, N.(2011). Should the be Abolished? Arguments For andAgainst the Centuries-Old Punishment.&nbspJournalfor Communication &amp Culture&nbsp1.2