By Marie-Claire Steynberg
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” 3
John Battaglia. Executed 1st of February, 2018 for murdering his two daughters as an act of revenge against his estranged wife, while his wife was on the phone.
17 years. John Battaglia spent seventeen years in jail before his execution took place using lethal injection. Throughout the seventeen years, Battaglia’s attorneys tried to “halt the execution” multiple times 2.
Thirty-nine. Thirty-nine prisoners were sentenced to death row in 2017 in the USA. The average of the 39 prisoners that were executed spent 19.5 years in prison before their execution took place 5.
Now the controversial question most are challenging: Should the death penalty be legal in the United States? The death penalty is an unethical and preposterous act that should be revoked in all states in the US.
The justice system we all “rely” on, does not always provide the services our society demands. Citizens desire reassurance that when wrongfully accused of a crime, the justice system will support them and be set free. This is not the case for everyone. Race. Occupation. Wealth. These are all aspects that play a role in how the justice system “honorably” operates.
Even though the justice system isn’t always equitable, times come where justice is vital. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 203 prisoners were exonerated due to “mistaken witness identification”, 194 prisoners were set free due to “false or misleading forensic evidence”, and 182 prisoners were unchained due to “false or fabricated confessions”. In light of this, the incompetence of the justice system should not give criminals a way out.
The famous saying, “treat people the way you want to be treated” is the expression that should linger in citizens’ minds while debating the death penalty. The barbaric performance of ending someone’s existence because they murdered someone is an inhumane way to control our society. What about the victim’s families? Lorraine Taylor was a mother of twins until a gruesome act was acted upon her twin boys, Albade and Obadiah, aged 22. Although these horrendous acts were done upon her family and caused her tremendous grief, she expressed that, “Taking another person’s life does not stop violence. There’s a contradiction in responding to murder by executing people” 5. Lorraine Taylor’s reaction is not common among families, but her words hold the truth. Executing another human being does not solve anything nor does it improve our society. Not only does the thought of the death penalty make me nauseous, but it also costs the government a great deal of money.
In order to upkeep the convicts in prison, a large amount of the state’s money is required. According to an article by Tim Dees 1, in Forbes business magazine, the average cost of imprisoning is $31,286 an inmate per year. Inmates on death row cost the taxpayers $90,000 more per year the general population. On average it costs the taxpayers around $2,365,070 per death row inmate, while the lethal injection itself, which is commonly chosen, is only around $1,300. If the death penalty were to be revoked, the government could use the additional money to prevent violence, further develop public school systems, or invest more money into the police department.
Jail is a horrific location that houses people who have committed crimes. These prisoners might have been falsely accused of a crime, but in most cases the inmates are doing time for actions they have committed. Even though the justice system is unreliable at times, it’s what we have. False accusations are a reality, but so is crime.The death penalty is an illogical reaction towards crime. We do not have the right to end someone’s life, no matter what appalling choices they might have made throughout their lifetime.
1) Dees, Tim. “Should The United States Of America Abolish The Death Penalty?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 Oct. 2012, 12:22, http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fquora%2F2012%2F10%2F30%2Fshould-the-united-states-of-america-abolish-the-death-penalty%2F&refURL=&referrer=#7b1ec2ca547c.
2) “Execution List 2017.” Execution List 2017 | Death Penalty Information Center, deathpenaltyinfo.org/execution-list-2017.
3) “Miranda Warning.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Feb. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_warning.
4) The Editorial Board. “Capital Punishment Deserves a Quick Death.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 31 Dec. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/31/opinion/capital-punishment-death-penalty.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FCapital%2BPunishment.
5) “Upcoming Executions.” Upcoming Executions | Death Penalty Information Center, 22 Feb. 2018, deathpenaltyinfo.org/upcoming-executions.