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Capital Punishments Cost

.. se facing the death penalty. There is legal assistance provided and an automatic appeals process for persons convinced of capital crimes. Persons under the age of eighteen, pregnant women, new mothers, or persons who have become insane cannot be sentenced to death. Capital punishment saves lives as well as takes them. We must accept the few risks of wrongful deaths for the sake of defending public safety.

Abolitionists say the cost of execution has become increasingly expensive and that life sentences are more economical. A study of the Texas Criminal System estimated the cost of appealing capital murder at approximately $3.2 million. This high cost includes $265,640 for the trial; $294.240 for the state appeals; $113,608 for federal appeals (over six years); and $135,875 for death row housing. In contrast, the cost of housing a prisoner in a Texas maximum-security prison single cell for 40 years is estimated at $535,000 ( This is a huge amount of taxpayer money but the public looks at it as an investment in safety since these murderers will never kill again.

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Retentionists argue that these high costs are due to the lengthy time and the high expenses result from innumerable appeals, many over technicalities which have little or nothing to do with the question of guilt or innocence, and do little more than jam up the nations court system. If these frivolous appeals were eliminated, the procedure would neither take so long nor cost so much. The moral issues concerning the legitimacy of the death have been brought up by many abolitionists. They think that respect for life forbids the use of the death penalty, while retentionists believe that respect for life requires it. Abolitionists usually cite the Bible saying, “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste” (Deuteronomy 32:35).

Whereas the retentionists usually cite, “Whoso sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed..” (Genesis 9:6). Both of these verses are good arguments and seem contradictory; however, many religious people say that God works in mysterious ways and one thing He works through is the government so the sentencing of criminals could be God working his vengeance through our court systems. The latter of the two verses is many peoples moral justification for supporting the death penalty, and “let the punishment fit the crime usually goes right along with the verse also. All three of these quotes could imply that the murderer deserves to die and it was his own fault for putting himself on death row. Supporters of capital punishment say that society has the right to kill in defense of its members, just as an individual has the right to kill in self defense for his or her own personal safety.

In the United States, the main objection to capital punishment has been that it was always used unfairly, in at least three major ways. First, females are rarely sentenced to death and executed, even though 20 percent of all murders that have occurred in recent years were committed by women. Second, a disproportionate number of nonwhites are sentenced to death and executed. A black man who kills a white person is eleven times more likely to receive the death penalty than a white man who kills a black person ( In Texas in 1991, blacks made up twelve percent of the overall population, forty eight percent of the prison population, and 55.5 percent of the population on death row ( Before the 1970s, when the death penalty for rape was still used in many states, no white men were guilty of raping nonwhite women, whereas most black offenders found guilty of raping a white woman were executed.

This data shows how the death penalty can discriminate and be used on certain races rather than equally as punishment for severe crimes on both races. And third, poor and friendless defendants, those who are inexperienced or have court-appointed counsel, are most likely to be sentenced to death and executed. Defenders of the death penalty, however, argue that, because nothing found in the laws of capital punishment causes sexist, racist, or class bias in its use, these kinds of discrimination are not a sufficient reason for abolishing the death penalty on the idea that it discriminates or violates the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Opponents of capital punishment have replied to this by saying that the death penalty is subject to miscarriage of justice and that it would be impossible to administer fairly. In the 1970s, a series of U.S.

Supreme Court decisions made the death penalty in the U.S. unconstitutional, if it is mandatory, if it is imposed without providing courts with adequate guidance to make the right decision in the severity of the sentence, or if it is imposed for a crime that does not take or threaten the life of another human being. The death penalty was also confined to crimes of murder, including a felony murder. A felony murder is any homicide committed in the course of committing another felony, such as rape or robbery. After the 1972 court ruling that all but a few capital statutes were unconstitutional, thirty-seven states revised and reinstated their death penalty laws. In 1989 the Supreme Court decided that the death penalty could be used on those who were mentally retarded or underage (but not under sixteen) at the time of the killing.

A trend that the Supreme Court is following is making a cut back on the appeals that death row inmates could make to the federal courts. I feel strongly toward using the death penalty as punishment for unspeakable crimes. I feel that it is a deterrent for criminal activity because of its severity and it will never allow a murderer to kill again and destroy another family. The death penalty is not a problem if all avenues have been investigated and nothing is questionable. I do, however, feel that restrictions should be put on its uses. Not all crimes deserve the death penalty.

Let the punishment fit the crime, if a person performs a premeditated heinous murder he should be put to death. It is that simple. If the convicted offender shows no remorse for his actions, then the decision should be even easier. Repeat offenders and people who enjoy killing do not deserve to walk our streets; this method of punishment will prevent that from ever happening. I fell that it is important to send a message to all future “thrill-killers” that taking the life of another human is wrong and if they decide to try it, they must face the consequence of death. Bibliography Electric, Inc. “Death Penalty Statistics.” 1998.

Online Posting. Hoyt, Robert S. “Canute.” World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: Childcraft International, Inc. 1981. Miller, Jane K. “William I.” World Book Encyclopedia.

Chicago: Childcraft International, Inc. 1981. Saunders, J.L. “Socrates.” World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: Childcraft International, Inc.

1981. The Holy Bible. Old King James Version. 1988 Dugan Publishers, Inc. United States. The Delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

“The United States Constitution”. 1787.


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