Death Penalty

Death penalty is a big issue in criminal justice, so there are positive and negative sides of using this type of punishment. The debate was held from the biblical times. It is still controversial to allow this kind of punishment. We do not have the right answer whether the death punishment is justified.

After researching scientific journals and archives, it can be concluded that the death penalty is a common practice beginning in the late eighteenth century in the United States. Most of the literature in criminology states that "The death penalty has been and continues to be defended on the grounds in which society has the ethical responsibility to protect the welfare and security of its citizens from the heinous crimes which justify its sentence" (Cangany & Clark, 2012).

The death penalty issue is extremely emotional and provocative topic because we decide about taking someone's life. We take a right to kill a person and live with this decision. Do we always make right choices and have a clear definition of what is justice?

We can interpret the U.S. Constitution as an attempt to forbid the death penalty as a justified form of punishment. "The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment," and leaves the term loosely defined enabling courts to specify the law" (Cangany & Clark, 2012). That is why the cases of the death penalty vary depending on the states. For example, "Texas put to death over 50 people last year; and New Hampshire has not exercised capital punishment in half a century" (Cangany & Clark, 2012).

There are different opinions whether the death penalty should be forbidden. In fact, the system does not only violate the right to life but also can take the life of the innocent people. Moreover, from the financial side we can conclude that the death penalty is expensive.

The reasons for killing the perpetrator are flat, and most of Americans are against such kind of punishment for their abusers. According to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, "90 million Americans believe that the death penalty is wrong" (About the death penalty, n.d.). Basically, "The American Medical Association's Code of Ethics forbids physician participation in lethal injections, stating that it violates the Hippocratic Oath to preserve life" ( Leary, 2013).

In addition, following the statistics of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the death penalty as a punishment for a crime is actively used in a small number of states. As a matter of fact, the usage of the capital punishment has been declined for the last few years (About the Death Penalty, n.d.).

In addition to the lawful arguments and public opinion, the death penalty can result in killing an innocent people. According to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the risk of having innocent people arrested and executed might be caused by racial differences; for example, "eyewitness identification, the leading cause of wrongful convictions, is even less reliable when the witness is identifying someone of a different race" (About the death penalty, n.d.).

As the American system makes terrible mistakes, and many people were executed being innocent, there has been implemented the Innocent Project. This project and "the overturning of 18 wrongful convictions of death-row inmates with DNA evidence and the exonerations of 16 crimes" raised the awareness of Americans on the issue (America's retreat from the death penalty, 2013).

Finally, the death penalty is costly for the states to implement. One of the most appealing cases is the death penalty system in California where it costs "$137 million per year compare to $11.5 million for a non-death penalty system" (Leary, 2013). Another screaming example is that "On a federal level, the average cost of defending a death penalty trial is $620,932 — eight times the cost of a non-death penalty case" (Leary, 2013).

In brief, even though there is a positive tendency in decreasing the cases of the death penalty in the USA, the issue should be taken seriously. There are more and more failures and flaws in the death penalty system that put in danger innocent people to be executed. As the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty states, "By eliminating the death penalty, states would have millions of dollars a year to invest in programs that are proven to prevent violent crime, create safer communities and support those who are harmed by crime and violence" (About the death penalty, n.d.).