Capital Punishment: A Crime In Itself | Teen Ink

Capital Punishment: A Crime In Itself

November 6, 2015
By CalebRJ BRONZE, Plaquemine, Louisiana
CalebRJ BRONZE, Plaquemine, Louisiana
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Ratifications to the first ten articles of the U.S. Constitution were made on December 15 of 1791; of these ratifications included amendment eight which writes, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” The Constitution should always be interpreted in an originalists perspective; meaning that the Constitution and especially such a controversial amendment such as the eighth should be interpreted under the means of which it was originally introduced. Our founding fathers wrote this particular item to ban the same punishments that the government administers to those sentenced to death. Capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment and should be abolished in all states through out the country.

What is cruel and unusual punishment? The opposition might argue that there is no universal definition of “cruel and unusual,” and since capital punishment in how we administer it is not specifically denied in the constitution it should not be abolished, but this is wrong. Cruel and unusual punishment is punishment that is unacceptable due to the suffering, pain, or humiliation it inflicts on the person subjected to it. Can you not say that electrocuting someone, frying their entire body is neither humiliating, insufferable, nor painless. No. Image how the families feel, knowing that their child, their brother, their sister could never commit such a heinous crime, but without sufficient evidence to prove otherwise watch their government take one of their loved ones away from them, forever.

Capital punishment is the most overlooked form of government hypocrisy in that we execute people who kill people to show that murder is wrong. This governmental logic of executing those who break the law to deter criminal activity has not been proven to work. In fact, a study executed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveal that 4.1% or 1 in every 25 people convicted and sentenced to death are actually innocent. These numbers may seem small to some in that they do not immediately prove grounds for the policy’s abolition, but life is life and all life is given with purpose and good reason, so how is it up to the government to decide whether someone is worthy of living or dying? They’re not.

A Seattle University study examining the costs of the death penalty in Washington found that each death penalty case cost an average of 3.07 million dollars; the gross bill to taxpayers being 120 million dollars. Think, this means that in paying your taxes, your duty as a citizen of this country, you have in some shape or form contributed in the ending of someones life.

Democratic party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders agrees “the time is now for the United States to end capital punishment,” arguing that the government “should itself not be involved in the murder of other Americans.” Ironically, America like China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, has enforced capital punishment for many decades; it is time that America dissociate itself from these countries we refer to as rivals and begin to propose new policy that is more effective and efficient.  

We can solve this problem if the court would become more lenient with smaller offenses; this will open more space in criminal institutions for individuals that actually deserve to be there. Rather than denouncing its own views on the immoralities of murder, the government should issue more life sentences as opposed to killing innocent people. If capital punishment is abolished, then there will be more money to fund welfare programs for people in need. This and this only will deter crime, not crime itself.

The author's comments:

I was inspired to write this article after reading a poem on capital punishment. I am strongly against capital punishment and believe that the death penalty must be abolished.

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