Essay on Capital Punishment
Uploaded by MJ23 on Jul 05, 2004
"Dead Man Walking!" This sound rings through each and every death row inmate a thousand times a day; But should it? Capital punishment is one of the most controversial topics among Americans today. Since every person has there own opinion on this topic, either for or against, the question always raised is "Is it morally right." The number of problems with the death penalty are enormous, ranging from innocence to racism, and these problems will never be resolved unless the death penalty is abolished.
The problems with capital punishment stem as far back as the ritual itself. The number of occurrence on why the death penalty is racist is uncountable. A 1990 report released by the federal government's General Accounting Office found a "pattern of evidence indicating racial disparities in the charging, sentencing and imposition of the death penalty after the Furman decision." Professor David Baldus examined sentencing patterns in Georgia in the 1970's. After reviewing over 2,500 homicide cases in that state, controlling for 230 non-racial factors, he concluded that a person accused of killing a white was 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than a person accused of killing a black. The Stanford Law Review published a study that found similar patterns of racial dispair, based on the race of the victim, in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Virginia. For example, in Arkansas findings showed that defendants in a case involving a white victim are three-and-a-half times more likely to be sentenced to death; in Illinois, four times; in North Carolina, 4.4 times, and in Mississippi five times more likely to be sentenced to death than defendants convicted of murdering blacks.
There is also the issue of Capital Punishment being a deterrent. But does the death penalty really deter crime? The death lobby wants you to believe the answer to that question is "yes." But, in fact, it is a resounding "NO." Consider this...the US is the only Western nation that still allows the death penalty, and we also have one of the highest crime rates. During the 1980s, death penalty states averaged an annual rate of 7.5 criminal homicides per 100,000, while abolition states averaged a rate of 7.4 per 100,000. That means murder was actually more common in states that use the death penalty. Also consider this...in a nationwide survey of police chiefs and sheriffs, capital punishment was ranked last...