The death penalty is part of capital punishment which is a state-sanctioned form of punishment. It is associated with putting a person to death through execution. There are a wide range criminal activities referred to as capital crimes that are punished using the death penalty. They include genocide, murder, war crimes, treason and crimes against humanity. In the United States, a death penalty is a legal form of punishment in more than thirty states, and it is a penalty that dates back to the country as a colony of the British government. The United States is considered as the only western country that applies the death penalty. The United States went as far as developing lethal injection as a form of capital punishment. Although the death penalty is a common form of sentencing, it has grown to be an issue of controversy whereby many nations and states are against it. This paper will explore the death penalty as used in the United States (Oppose the Death Penalty, 2017).
The death penalty is legally provided for in the bill of rights in the eighth amendment which offered prohibition for cruel methods of punishment. It was based on previous, harsh and cruel methods used for capital punishment such as execution by the use of a firing squad. The Fifth Amendment was then drafted with an inclusion of the death penalty as a means of capital punishment. However, for the sentence to be passed, it had to be indicted by a grand jury. The fourteenth amendment of the constitution specifies that a due process of the law for the deprivation of life has to take place (The Death Penalty should be abolished, 2017).
The death penalty has been met by a lot of opposition. Many people believe that the sentence deprives an individual the right to their own life. Some factors make the death penalty unnecessary. One of the main reason is that there are alternative measures that can be used for sentencing. Life imprisonment without parole is one of them. Since cases associated with capital punishment are minimal and sometimes rare, offering life in prison instead of the death penalty is a better alternative. It preserves life. Another reason that the death penalty needs to be stopped because sometimes cases end up with the conviction of innocent people. A good example is where suspects have been convicted because of lack of adequate technology for examining evidence in the past. Current technologies associated with forensic science have uncovered cases form the past where people were wrongfully convicted. There is a high risk of executing innocent people which is morally incorrect. Many people have been wrongfully convicted because of insufficient evidence to exonerate them form cases. Morally speaking, the death penalty becomes a very unethical way of passing judgment (The Death Penalty should be abolished, 2017).
Another factor is that there is a lot of racial disparities when it comes to the death penalty. Race issues see more African Americans convicted and executed than any other racial group. The moral standing of the death penalty about racism is the death penalty makes it a very unattractive and unethical system of justice in the society. Another factor is associated with how wealth and affluence influence sentencing. Wealthy people can have better representation. Wealthy people have a higher chance of avoiding the death penalty that poor people. The above are reasons as to why the death penalty does not represent justice in the society. It is a system that is greatly influenced by other negative aspects of the society (Oppose the Death Penalty, 2017).
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