The Death Penalty Uncovered

The Death Penalty Uncovered


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The government has continued to allow the death penalty to be sentenced for people who they say commit heinous crimes. Many prisoners are on Death Row who are innocent, have severe mental issues or illness, and in some cases, prisoners are kept in solitary confinement until it is time for their execution, which the Supreme Court has ruled as unconstitutional and unethical. However, the motion was overturned. Millions of Americans who weren’t given a fair trial and are innocent are awaiting their death date and they deserve justice. The death penalty should be abolished.

Britain influenced America’s use of the death penalty more than any other country. When European settlers came to the New World, they brought the practice of Capital Punishment. In 1612, Virginia Governor Sir Thomas Dale enacted the Divine, Moral and Martial Laws, which provided the death penalty for even minor offenses such as stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians.Laws regarding the death penalty varied from colony to colony. The New York Colony instituted the Duke’s Laws of 1665. Under these laws, offenses such as striking one’s mother or father, or denying the “true God,” were punishable by death. The first attempted reforms of the death penalty in the U.S. occurred when Thomas Jefferson introduced a bill to revise Virginia’s death penalty laws. Although some U.S. states began abolishing the death penalty, most states held onto Capital Punishment.Although some states abolished the death penalty in the mid-Nineteenth Century, it was actually the first half of the Twentieth Century that marked the beginning of the “Progressive Period” of reform in the United States.

Support for the death penalty has fluctuated throughout the century. According to Gallup surveys, “in 1936 61% of Americans favored the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. Support reached an all-time low of 42% in 1966. Throughout the 70s and 80s, the percentage of Americans in favor of the death penalty increased steadily, culminating in an 80% approval rating in 1994.” A May 2004 Gallup Poll found that a growing number of Americans support a sentence of life without parole rather than the death penalty for those convicted of murder. Only 55% of those polled responded that they believed the death penalty is implemented fairly, down from 60% in 2003.The overall support is about the same as that reported in 2002, but down from the 80% support in 1994. Today in recent records and data provided, 40% of U.S. citizens support the death penalty, and the number of executions and sentencing has decreased since 2010. Since 2001, “673 executions have been carried out by lethal injection, ten executions by electrocution and one execution by shooting, and no executions have been carried out by hanging or gas chamber.Nineteen (out of 50) states have abolished the death penalty.“New Mexico, Connecticut, Maryland and Nebraska abolished the death penalty in 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015, respectively because American Society has wavered away from those forms of capital punishment,” according to the Gallup Survey.

In my opinion, the death penalty is still in effect because America still feels that they can play the role of judge, jury, and executioner. I see it as getting revenge and misplaced anger, people don’t seem to grasp or accept the reality that more suffering would be endured staring at four blank walls than a quick death. It is also unethical to have a person, despite their wrongs committed, awaiting their execution. Now don’t get me wrong, my sympathy and condolences go to families who have lost or been a victim to a person’s crimes, but that still doesn’t condone taking a person’s life for another. It doesn’t stop the pain or resolve anything. Going to jail for people who commit those high degree crimes deserve to meditate and watch their life go by to understand what they have done. A quick death will end their suffering, when they should hold that burden for the rest of their lives. Recently, the state of California voted on abolishing the death penalty and the motion was denied and the death penalty continues to be in effect. Many people say it is because people have grown to fear those who are foreign and commit crimes and want them to be executed based on fear I believe the highest level of punishment should be a life-sentence without parole.

On the other hand, being that it is still allowed in states, officials misuse their power and mistreat their prisoners. No one has the right to treat a person like an “it.” Other countries must think of us as animals the way we feel we can treat another being. No matter the crime, no one should be subjected to the different levels of mistreatment some prisoners receive and the unethical procedures still placed in jails for “protocol.” They often use unnecessary force upon prisoners and disrespectful diction for no other excuse than they can because no one is correcting them or taking a stand. So on top of them waiting for their execution they are having to live in this condition and it leads to many prisoners taking their lives or getting harmed by another cellmate.

In conclusion, the death penalty continues to be at the hands of society to determine whether it is abolished. It is time to start advancing and see the bigger picture and better ourselves as a union. We should help those who commit crimes and convict them to reasonable punishments for their actions.America tends to go from 0-100 and there is no in between. People need to see that the death penalty is cruel and no person should have to experience death from a hand of another as a punishment for their crimes. There are other ways to go about convicting criminals and those steps should be taken to improve the judicial system.