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The USA is one of 58 nations where the death penalty is still legal. 30 out of 50 states currently still carry the death penalty. According to Amnesty International, 98 countries have abolished death sentences for all crimes by the end of 2013. In countries where the death penalty is considered legal, it is used only in cases of the most heinous crimes. Overall the number of executions carried out each year has fallen steadily. However, many hold the belief that the death penalty must be abolished altogether.
Since the start of civilization, death sentences have been used as punishment for criminals. In recent years, there have been calls from all sections of society to end the death penalty in the USA. The concept of capital punishment denies people their “right to life, liberty, and property,” the foundation of the American Constitution. It violates human rights, breaching the criminals’ right to live free from torture or inhumane treatment.
In America, death sentences are carried out by two methods- the electric chair or legal injection. Both are cruel and unusual ways to end a life. Other nations use hanging by the neck, beheading, or firing squads to deliver capital punishments. Regardless of the method, it’s barbaric to consider taking someone’s life as a form of justice.
The American justice system is not impervious to prejudice or bias. There have been numerous instances where an innocent person has been put to death. It is abominable to allow a system to exist that treats human life so callously and facilitates the death of innocent people. It’s well-recognized that a person of a racial minority or low economic class is more likely to receive a severe sentence than a Caucasian and wealthy person.
Consider the example of the execution of George Junius Stinney Jr., the youngest person to be handed the death penalty in the USA. He was only 14 years when he was executed by the electric chair on October 21, 1929. Seventy years later, it was established that he did not receive a fair trial and was exonerated from all the accusations.
This case is one of many examples highlighting racial bias within the judicial system. A legal system where a 14-year-old child is criminally indicted and brutally punished for a crime he did not commit has no place in a civilized society. According to an article by Time, almost 120 out of the 3000 prisoners on death row may not actually be guilty of their crimes.
Many death penalty supporters emphasize that capital punishments act as a crime deterrent. However, statistics show that harsh punishments have no impact on people who commit murders. Experts have debugged the deterrent notion multiple times. The death penalty has slim to no effect on the murder rate in the country. Thus, it serves no purpose whatsoever.
Numerous countries have made the death penalty illegal. It’s Time for America to consider the same. It’s morally incorrect to end a life, even if it’s the life of a criminal. Moreover, the prisoners spend years, if not decades, on death row. The suffering and mental anguish that they go through are inhumane. Therefore, the death penalty should be abolished.
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