The abolishment of death penalty as a form of punishment for a crime is a controversial topic, and the debate regarding the issue has started from the biblical times. The death penalty should be forbidden because this system not only violates the right to life, but also can take the life of the innocent people, and in addition, the capital punishment is expensive. In total, at least 1,252 people were executed in 24 countries last year and 3,347 sentenced to death in 51 countries, Amnesty International said in a report, adding that some 27,500 people were now on death row globally (24 executed, 2008).
To begin with, all human beings are free in dignity and have equal rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the U.N. in 1948, proclaims the right of every individual to protection from deprivation of life (The Universal, 2010). It states that no one shall be subjected to cruel or degrading punishment. China, where executions are a state secret, is an excellent example of the high level of brutality in society. We can think about the victims of crimes, but we always forget about confessions that have been made. The American Jewish Congress says "capital punishment degrades and brutalizes the society which practices it, and is… cruel, unjust, and incompatible with [human] dignity and self-respect."(Stassen, G., 2008). The American Jewish Congress insists that the death penalty is an attack on the value of human life and human rights.
In addition to the equality of human rights, the death penalty can take the life of the innocent people. This person who committed the crime is a danger to himself and society; nevertheless, it can be merely hateful revenge. Even though it can be a guarantee for the victims, it should be justified to allow everyone on death row a second trial. We should be clear that this is not about restriction to future rapists and murderers, but this is about satisfying the vengeful feelings of some people. We know that many innocent people have been sent to death row and over 125 have been released from death row in the U.S. due to evidence of their wrongful convictions, according to the Amnesty International (The Universal, 2010). Furthermore, the death penalty can be also caused by racial and economic bias. Thus, The U.S. Supreme Court suspended the death penalty because of extensive evidence of racism and class bias. “The people who are executed tend to be those who have killed a white person and received incompetent legal representation” (Kyte, 2010).
The final argument is that the death penalty system is significantly more expensive than a system in which the death penalty is not an option. Even if all appeals are abolished, the death penalty will still be more expensive than alternative sentences. It costs $12.3 million to execute someone, but $1 million to keep that person in jail for life. (Stassen, G., 2008). There are some evidences that the death penalty costs more than the state pays to provide conditions for living to usual prisoners. “A recent study in Washington state found that death penalty cases cost an average of $600,000 more per case than trying similar crimes as noncapital cases” (Kyte, 2010).
To sum up, the state should enable the prosecution of crime to be focused on justice, not allowing vengeance to take over the process (Kyte, 2010). The investigation process should be “carried out dispassionately, reliably and fairly” (Kyte, 2010). Thus, there are a great number of arguments to consider the death penalty as ineffective punishment or vice versa. The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, and it is cruel and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. Although this cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice, some evidence proves that large numbers of convictions are false. Thus, most people are increasingly aware that the death penalty is biased, unjust, and full of errors. If we do not abolish this expensive and unfair system, we will brutalize the society and send to death a lot of innocent people.
- 24 executed each week last year, says Amnesty. (2008, April 15). Irish Times. Retrieved from Newspaper Source Database.
- Kyte, R. (2010, August 29). The ethical life: Why capital punishment is unethical. La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved from http://lacrossetribune.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/the-ethical-life-why-capital-punishment-is-unethical/article_7e2f9d94-b24b-11df-8e90-001cc4c002e0.html
- Stassen, G. (2008). The death penalty is losing. Tikkun, 23(4), 43-47. Retrieved from Humanities International Complete Database.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (2010). Retrieved from http//www.amnesty.org/en.