Today there is a big controversy over capital punishment whether or not it works or if it is morally right. Before I go on capital punishment, in America, is only used in felony cases such as murder or a felony buglary, where there was a unintended murder because of a robbery. People who favor the death penalty say that the criminals deserve it and is the only way for justice to be served. People who are against it, the death penalty, say that it is immoral, that no person should be sentenced to death, it has no place in a civilized society, and that since the death penalty cannot be racially bias it should be banished.
Capital punishment is justified by several means. First of all, it greatly discourages violent crimes like murder and rape. Many murderers are not serving most–if even half–of their sentences nowadays, due to early parole or overcrowded prisons. If a murderer is sentenced to life imprisonment, not only does it cost the taxpayers money to support them but often their life in the jail is often better than that which some citizens live everyday. These first two facts encourage crime rather than impede them.
Also, a person who commits murder deserves a punishment that fits the crime committed. Premeditated murder, being the most vile crime committed, calls for the only fit punishment– death. I am referring only to murderers getting the death penalty, and not necessarily any other crimes like rape or buglary. There are now currently thirty-seven states that have the death penalty. Even the military has the death penalty. The other states, most of them in the Midwest and Northeast have abolished it. The only two states to not ever have the death penalty is Alaska and Hawaii.
Many criminals, including murderers, are getting released from prison before their sentence is completely served because of early parole. This early release is necessary due to overcrowding in the prisons and “good behavior. ” I think that the sentence they are given should be carried out until the last day and there should be no leeway such as in their sentencing such as parole. If people are thinking of committing murder and are aware that they will be released because of early parole, then it will not effectively deter any future crime from happening.
I personally do not want any person who has committed a murder recently living near me or any person that I care about. These people are likely to commit the same crime again, only to receive the same lenient sentence. But if they are aware that if they commit a severe felony crime that they will be sentenced to death without the possibility of parole, then this decision is final then they will have second thoughts about committing the crime.
For this reason I and many other citizens are not happy and the only solution I see is the death penalty for any criminal and not just repeat offenders. These safeguards will insure that justice will be served without having it suffer. Also these safeguards ensure that the death penalty is racially bias. Fairness in our justice system is expected by American citizens, and these citizens are dependent on the government to provide that. I will reiterate, crime necessitates a proper punishment. The only reasonable discipline for committing cold blooded murder is death.
Some opponents to capital punishment claim that “the race of the victim remains a crucial factor in determining who will and will not receive the death penalty. ” (3) The back up this reason by noticing that minorities are unfairly being executed at higher rates than are Caucasians because the percentage of minorities being executed is not proportional to the percentage of minorities in society. This is true, only in the fact that more murders are committed by minorities, and therefore more minority citizens are being faced with capital punishment.
I believe that most of these felonies are committed in large urban cities where the minority population is higher than the white population, hence this outcome occurs. But the most popular case where the death penalty is being sought is the O. J. Simpson case. James Ridgeway, a reporter for Village Voice, said this about the Simpson case “The O. J. Simpson case would have been the highest test of the American public’s willingness to put a person to death. ” (4) Regardless of race, a criminal must be dealt with justly.
Lets imagine for a moment there was no death penalty for a moment. The only reasonable sentence would a life sentence. This would be costly to the tax payers, not only for the cost of housing and feeding the prisoner but because of the numerous appeals which wastes man hours and money. By treating criminals in this manner, we are encouraging behavior that will result in a prison sentence. If there is no threat of death to one who commits a murder, than that person is guaranteed to be provided with a decent living environment until their next parole hearing.
They are definitely not getting the punishment they deserve. Taking this point one step further, how will the family of the murderer’s victim feel about this unfit punishment? The ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, an opponent of the death penalty is quoted as saying that “What families of murder victims really need is financial and emotional support to help them recover from their loss and resume their lives. ” (1) What kind of cold hearted person needs money to replace the life of a loved one?
It is this kind of attitude that I feel is letting criminals get away with murder. What the victim’s family is justice to be served, for the offender to be put to death, not any sort of financial retribution. Justice is all anyone wants and deserves. Capital punishment is therefor necessary but there are opponents who think that it is barbaric. Hugo Adam Bedau, a professor of philosophy at Tufts University, says this about capital punishment ” the death penalty is uncivilized in theory and has no place in a civilized society. 2) This is true but we do not live in a civilized society if we did there would be no crime thus the death penalty would be out of date. But in this uncivilized society that we live in I say let the punishment fit the crime, an eye for an eye. Bedau also said that ” Criminals no doubt deserve to be punished, and punished with severity appropriate to their culpability and the harm they have caused to the innocent. ” (2) This I strongly agree with and feel that Bedau is beginning to see the need for capital punishment.
In conclusion, murder is a crime that involves taking the life of another human, and that act needs to be punished justly–not with a shortened sentence in an overly luxurious prison, but in an effective manner that gives society the message that it is living in a just world. Moreover, the death penalty is not racially biased, it’s just that more minorities are being executed than Caucasians, because more minorities are committing more crimes. If capital punishment is taken away, we will not have an effective justice system and crimes against innocent citizens will continue. This is why capital punishment is necessary and needed in America.