The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

Is The Death Penalty Justified?

March 1, 2019

The controversies surrounding the death penalty have plagued governments across the world. Many major global powers still enforce the death penalty; these countries include the U.S., China, Iran and Saudi Arabia. However, the U.S. stands as the only Western country that still performs capital punishment. The death penalty essentially aims to prevent future crime, lessen threats to society and allows the justice system to give victims’ families closure.

People and groups that commit crimes such as murder, treason and mass genocide lack respect for innocent human lives. Upon a criminal’s conviction, the death penalty can be used to both punish and deter others from committing the same crimes. Once others become aware that their actions have deadly consequences, they will most likely steer away from committing any such similar crime. At the same time, the death penalty also lessens the threat to society by taking away the power of one more harmful person and preventing them from ever committing any such violent act ever again.

More support for the death penalty comes from the sheer cost of housing and rehabilitating criminals. Convicted murderers or criminals with life sentences cost taxpayers billions of dollars annually. According to Vera.org, the total cost of prisons across 45 states in the U.S. in 2015 was just under $43 billion. The average cost of one inmate for that year was $33,274; this figure can fluctuate depending on the number of staff, inmates, the prison system, etc. Prisons were made for the rehabilitation of criminals with the goal that they will eventually rejoin society. Criminals who receive the death penalty will never be released, or have committed crimes worthy of capital punishment.

However, governments should not abuse the use of capital punishment or throw it around lightly. The punishment should fit the crime; crimes such as fraud or theft should not receive the same punishment as murder or treason. This defeats the entire purpose of using the death penalty as a deterrent for other would-be criminals and to also ensure public safety. Ensuring that the criminal is 100 percent guilty is also imperative, and experts should use technology such as DNA testing to guarantee that the right person gets convicted.

The death penalty still plays an important role in society today because it serves as a deterrent to future crime activity and helps to keep civilians safe. 

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