By the end of 2017, 106 countries had completely abolished the death penalty. The United States has 30 states who still use the death penalty as punishment. Many argue if Capital Punishment – the death penalty- should still be used in today’s time. Capital Punishment should be abolished in the United States because it violates the Human Right Law, it is considered racist, and it’s an expensive process.
The Human Rights Law states, “ All human beings are entitled, like civil and political rights, the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and speech/expression, equality before the law, social, cultural and economic rights, the right to food, the right to work, and the right to education” ( Human Rights Law ). Every inmate who is on death row is denied the right to be treated as a human, it diminishes the human dignity. Not only are they denied basic privileges as a human but they are also denied social interactions, food, work, and education. The inmates are placed in a small isolated room for torture, they are limited to many things, no access to visitation, no social interaction with other prisoners, and are denied the right for education and other programmings ( The Death Penalty is a Human Rights Violation ).
Many inmates on death row aren’t fed, inmates from the Gordon County Jail, in Georgia are only permitted two small meals a day 10 to 14 hours apart. Inmates from The Butte-Silver Bow County Jail, in Montana are permitted three meals a day but are cutting the cost short by serving them less food. The Maricopa County jail, in Arizona, provide food to their inmates twice which typically includes a piece of toast, fruit, and coffee. They are provided meals, however, it is not enough nutrition for inmates who are isolated from the rest. Many lose weight and become ill for
Example, one inmate from the Montgomery County Jail lost 90 pounds in less than six months ( “What’s in a prison meal?” ). 17 out of 34 states do not permit the inmates to have visitations or physical contact with family members. The only time they are allowed to contact the family is when their execution date is near.
Not only are they being food deprived, but many inmates are also denied the right to an education. Education is a basic human right behind bars, regardless of the inmates’ reasonings on death row. Having the opportunity to better one’s self should never be taken away from someone, especially inmates. Having the basic needs and rights taken away from these inmates is not only a punishment but is also brings violence upon the inmates. Negative reinforcement is constantly being used on inmates, is counterproductive and instead restricts them from improving or bettering themselves.. Having the right to education increases the chances of inmates becoming a better person through the education program ( “Educate Prisoners” ). It would give inmates the chance to socialize with other, nevertheless, that’s not the case. Inmates are to remain inside the prison 24 hours a day, with no exception of going outside ( Östberg ).
Capital Punishment in the United States is not only violating human rights, but it is also dehumanizing. Currently, there are about 3,300 inmates on death row in the US, all who have many years awaiting execution. ( The Death Penalty is a Human Rights Violation ). There have been 19 executions since the beginning of 2018. There have been a total of 15,760 executions in the U.S. since 1700 ( Drehle ). 25 out of 34 states that still have the death penalty have inmates in solitary confinement for 24 hours or more. David C. Baldus a professor from the University of Iowa law, did a study on an inmate on death row finding that more than 2,000 executions took place in Georgia. Stating “ They found that black defendants were 1.7 times more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendants and that murderers of white victims were 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed blacks”( Dow ). Meaning black defendants get the death penalty more than white defendants, and that people who murder white people are 4.3 times more likely to get sentenced than when people kill black victims.
In 1997 a man named Duane Buck was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering two women. The Texas law states, “A jury must unanimously conclude that the defendant is likely to commit future criminal acts of violence” ( Caplan ). Walter Quijano who is a psychologist, was able to provide evidence to that effect in Bucks case. Dr. Quijano came to say, “Buck was more likely to be dangerous because he is black. Race. Black. Increased probability” ( Lincoln Caplin ). Not only was Dr. Quijano was a witness for Buck, but he was not called as witness making this case unfair. Towards the end of Buck’s case, Dr. Quijano came to say “yes” when he was asked, “If the race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness, for various complicated reasons; is that correct?” ( Dow ). After establishing that Buck was less likely to commit violent acts in the near future. He was later not offered a new trial and was sentenced to death. If Duane Buck was offered a fair trial, he would still be here, serving time for what he did and not getting an easy way out.
Unfortunately, there are many cases like Duane Bucks, who are not given a fair trial and are sentenced to death. Texas and Georgia have high ratings of sentencing black defendants to death than white defendants. Interestingly enough, the number of white defendants sentenced to death can easily be found by fingers ( Death Penalty, Still Racist and Arbitrary ). It is tragic to see that inmates are not given a fair trial and are judged by the color of their skin, and based on the color they decide rather he is considered dangerous, therefore making the court system corrupt and racist.
Being sentenced to death may sound like the right thing to do and the easy way out, but recent studies have shown that being sentenced to death cost more than being sentenced to life. The moment a crime is committed, up until a case a formed, to have a set trial is the moment the expensive began to rise. If a prosecutor is aiming for a death sentence than the cost of that would be 70% more than if it was a non-death penalty case ( Amnesty International ). In the state of Kansas, If a defendant is found guilty and sentenced to life, the cost would be around $740,000. If the defendant is found guilty and sentenced to death, the cost would be 1.26 million or more depending on how long his execution date is. In the state of Maryland, the death penalty would $3 million for one case, making it three times more expensive than a life sentence ( Amnesty International ).
In the view of the fact that the death penalty is an expense, shows the reasoning for why the resources are cut for inmates. These resources involve education and programmings, food, and personal hygiene products. Not only does it affect the criminal justice system, but as well as resources outside the correctional facility. If we continue to spend funds on the death penalty system, it could eventually affect our resources. That means, schools, transportation, road construction, public health, emergency services, police, and crime prevention ( Amnesty International ). Like said before, there are 3,300 inmates on death row, and a total of 15,760 executions ( Drehle ). If the death penalty was not an option, we would have better education programs for the children, better road/transportation services, and have justice for the family who have lost a loved one by making the criminal serve time.
Every day, 342 people in the United States are shot in murders, assaults, and unintentional shootings. Fortunately, I have not lost any family or loved one, but if I did it would be a very difficult moment for everyone in my family. Not only would we be grieving but as well as thinking about what should be done after the murder. The death penalty can divide and damage families. Many individuals hold on to their strong beliefs about the morality and utility of executions, not only does the death penalty create conflict within the surviving family members of murder victims, but is brings disagreement over the death penalty. It’s a moment when we should together as a family, instead of bringing families together it creates separation and compounds the tragedy of murder.
In most cases, family members of the murdered victim are judged by other on their position on death penalty. Criticism on the death penalty is taken as a suggestion that the victim must take action of responsibility for his or her own homicide, or opponents of the death penalty are seen as a psychopath for not wanting to execute the person who murdered their loved one. For some families it is difficult to accept what has happened and that they can not change the past, but can prevent it in the future with other families. At times families get caught up with the death penalty that they forget about their loved ones, and when they choose the death penalty they are later on seen as murders. Murdering the man who murdered your loved one should not be an option.
There is an alternative to the death penalty – life without parole. Many believe that if they are not on death row, they will eventually be set free, nobody wants a criminal on the street, but in reality, being sentenced to life without parole is a lot better than letting a criminal have an easy way out. They will not have a second chance for a trial and will be behind bars for the rest of their lives, It may not be the best solution for families who are seeking for justice but it is the best alternative ( Cuadp.org ). Who are we to take someone’s life for taking someone else’s life away, that is simply crime on crime, punishing someone for what they did, yet we as a society stoop down to that level and commit the same crime.
Capital Punishment should be abolished, it is not right to take someone’s life away, it is a violation of human rights, the system is considered racist and the process is very expensive. We must put an end to the death penalty, it will make a difference, let’s make the criminals pay for they have committed by making them live a long life behind bars.