Argumentative Essay- Should the death penalty be abolished?

Capital punishment is the government sanctioned practice whereby persons are executed as punishment for crimes they committed. In theory, this system seems to be effective as a deterrent to people committing crimes. However, persons have noted that implementing the death penalty has had some drawbacks, so much so that they call for its removal. The death penalty should be abolished because it is costly to keep people on death row, there are alternatives to helping the families of victims and it puts innocent lives at risk.

The death penalty system should be removed because it is costly to maintain. Many countries remark at the expensive bill that arises from implementing the death penalty. In the United States, according to The Oregonian newspaper, in 1995 three trials for three murder cases cost more than 1.5 million dollars. Out of those three cases, one person was sentenced to death. A fiscal impact summary from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services in 2000 showed that the Oregon Judicial Department would save 2.3 million every year if the death penalty were eliminated. That money could go to essential social services like free healthcare or poverty alleviating strategies for lower income persons. In this regard, the death penalty should be removed because it is quite costly to maintain.

Capital punishment must also be abolished because there are other ways to assist families of victims. Families of persons who have been murdered experience extreme trauma which should not be ignored or minimalized. However, there have never been any conclusive studies that these family members’ pain is healed or ends by seeing the offenders undergo the death penalty. Some family members have even commented that the extended time between conviction and the execution prolongs their agony. Family members of victims could benefit more from other measures like counselling or direct monetary assistance to help with their bills especially if the person that was killed was the breadwinner.

The death penalty should be made illegal because it puts innocent lives in harms way. Official statistics from the United States indicated that since the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1976, 138 innocent people have been released from death row, including persons who were minutes away from being executed. These persons were unjustly imprisoned, perhaps because of a wrong eyewitness account placing them at the scene or faulty DNA evidence and yet faced death. This is reprehensible behaviour as it could unfairly take the life of someone for no reason. Human rights groups advocate for the abolition of the death penalty because of this fact, that annually persons could innocently be executed by the State.

To sum it up, the death penalty should be removed for several reasons. One reason is that it is costly to implement. Another reason it should be illegal is because it is not the most effective way to help grieving surviving family members. A third reason it not be implemented is because it puts innocent lives in harms way.