Things are changing and the main reason is that Americans are learning about innocent people who have been sentenced to death. This has led to more scrutiny of the death penalty system itself. I’m believe that many people are with me when I say that I’m against the death penalty not because of sympathy for criminals but because it isn’t effective in reducing crime, costs a whole lot more than life in prison, and, worst of all, risks executions of innocent people. The worst thing about it. Errors: The system can make tragic mistakes.
In 2004, the state of Texas executed Cameron Todd Willingham for starting the fire that killed his children. The Texas Forensic Science Commission found that the arson testimony that led to his conviction was based on flawed science. As of today, 138 wrongly convicted people on death row have been exonerated. DNA is rarely available in homicides, often irrelevant (as in Willingham’s case) and can’t guarantee we won’t execute innocent people. Capital juries are dominated by people who favor the death penalty and are more likely to vote to convict.
Keeping killers off the streets for good: Life without parole, on the books in most states, also prevents reoffending. It means what it says, and spending the rest of your life locked up, knowing you’ll never be free, is no picnic. Two big advantages: -an innocent person serving life can be released from prison -life without parole costs less than the death penalty Costs, a surprise to many people: Study after study has found that the death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison.
The high costs of the death penalty are for the complicated legal process, with the largest costs at the pre-trial and trial stages. The point is to avoid executing innocent people. The tremendous expenses in a death penalty case apply whether or not the defendant is convicted, let alone sentenced to death. Crime reduction (deterrence): The death penalty doesn’t keep us safer. Homicide rates for states that use the death penalty are consistently higher than for those that don’t. The most recent FBI data confirms this.
For people who lack a conscience, fear of being caught is the best deterrent. Who gets it: Contrary to popular belief, the death penalty isn’t reserved for the worst crimes, but for defendants with the worst lawyers. It doesn’t apply to people with money. Practically everyone sentenced to death had to rely on an overworked public defender. How many people with money have been executed?? Victims: People assume that families of murder victims want the death penalty imposed. It isn’t necessarily so. Some are against it on moral grounds.
But even families who have supported the death penalty in principle have testified to the protracted and unavoidable damage that the death penalty process does to families like theirs and that life without parole is an appropriate alternative. It comes down to whether we should keep a system for the sake of retribution or revenge even though it isn’t effective in reducing violent crime, costs much more than alternatives and, worst of all, can lead to the nightmare of executing someone for a crime he didn’t commit. http://thesocietypages. org/graphicsociology/2009/02/20/death-penalty-the-overview/