Abolish the death penalty in the U.S.

Dante Harrold, Staff Writer

It is time that the U.S. follow the standard of the rest of the modern world and abolish its use of the death penalty. For both being, barbaric antiquated practice, immoral and more importantly impractical for a civilized society to as a means of punishment for anything. 

America is unique in terms of its use of the death penalty in this “developed world.” There are 30 states in the U.S. that currently use the death penalty. The death penalty is legal penalty under the federal justice system as well. In contrast practically every country in the developed world has stopped using the use of the death penalty as a punishment. Every country in Europe has ceased using the death penalty decades ago.  Australia and Canada have similarly ceased using it as a punishment a long time ago. Even Russia, a dictatorship, has ceased using the death penalty. The last time someone was executed in Russia was in 1999. The last time someone was executed in America was on September 10, 2019. 

Many hold the misconception that the death penalty is relatively inexpensive. Even cheaper to use than merely giving a prisoner life-imprisonment. The death penalty actually costs the public substantially more than simply providing a prisoner life-imprisonment. 

“The prosecution and defense of capital cases costs $467,000 more per case than noncapital cases.  A capital case also involves increased court costs, as well as the need for a high-security, expensive death row—dollars our state could use to help victims’ families in a time of fiscal crisis,” said The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington. 

Using conservative rough projections, the Commission estimates “the annual costs of the present system ($137 million per year), the present system after implementation of the reforms … ($232.7 million per year) … and a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead of the death penalty ($11.5 million),” said the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice.

The death penalty is actually expensive. We as a public should not be wasting so much money on something such as permanently removing a dangerous individual from society. We should be doing it in the most efficient way possible. Life-imprisonment accomplishes that goal without the cost ramifications of the death penalty. 

With the money saved from utilizing only the life-imprisonment to deal with murder cases the public could fund projects that could help prevent killings in the future, such as giving more funding to our educational system, our police departments and other things we rely on to keep our society safe and prosperous. 

But even ignoring the cost incentives to do away with the death penalty it is still a fundamentally gross practice for the government to continuously engage in. The government should not be legally killing its citizens if said citizen does not actively prove a threat. Killing someone who is not attacking another or capable of defending in him or her is little nothing more than state sanctioned murder, an act that we as a civilized society should treat as revulsion. 

There is also the real possibility of an innocent person being executed. The National Academy of Sciences reported that “at least 4.1 percent of defendants sentenced to death in the United States are innocent.” That number roughly translates to mean one in 25 people on death row are innocent. As a civilized society we should see this as a travesty that cannot continue. 

The U.S’s use of the death penalty is a unjustifiable. It is time for the nation to recognize it as such and do away with it.