Down with the death penalty

“Treat others how you wish to be treated” is a saying we were all taught growing up, but do the rules still apply in situations such as murder? For many years, the death penalty has been a very controversial issue. According to, there are currently 31 states in the United States of America where the death penalty is legal, and 19 states where it is illegal.

The death penalty is wrong and immoral for countless reasons, one of those reasons being that not everyone who is on death row is truly guilty. According to an article written by Pema Levy published in 2014 on, one in every 25 people sentenced to death in the United States is actually innocent. That is a lot of wrongly convicted people who are unfairly accused and punished for crimes they never even committed.

Capital punishment is hypocritical. It is used to discourage killers yet it models the very behavior it seeks to prevent, murder. Implementing the death penalty is surrendering to the idea that murder is okay, but only if it is handled by the government. We should not use violence to punish others because it does not change anything or stop other people from using it.

Execution is inhumane. Purposefully ending a human being’s life makes you nearly indistinguishable to the murderers we loathe. By using the death penalty, we are just as guilty and have just as much blood on our hands than the person being lethally injected.

The death penalty is also racist and biased. According to, 94.5% of elected prosecutors in death penalty states are white, and 79% of which are males. The site also states that since 1976, there have been 297 executions involving a black defendant and a white victim, and just 31 executions of white defendants with black victims. People argue that race has no influence on the death penalty but it undoubtedly does, the numbers don’t lie.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think criminals should get away with their crimes, I just believe they should be sentenced to life in prison rather than be killed, after all life in prison is cheaper. Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population. Why pay extra in taxes to execute someone when it would cost less to give them life in prison? Capital punishment is a waste of money, especially considering that not everyone on death row is truly guilty; can you imagine paying to execute an innocent person who was wrongfully convicted?

Execution doesn’t necessarily help the family and friends of murder victims; they are still going to be emotionally disturbed. Instead of paying extra for death penalty cases, that money should go toward things such as therapy and counseling for the families of the victims.

Not only is life in prison more civilized, but it gives criminals a chance to turn their lives around and work on better themselves.

Over 117 nations worldwide have made the death penalty illegal –– unfortunately the United States is not one of them. Capital punishment is in no way beneficial and should be abolished. America needs to get with the program and stop killing people and kill the death penalty instead.