Capital Punishment


Susan Smith intentionally drove her car into a lake with her two children strapped to the back seat, but the jury decided that capital punishment is too cruel for murdering her infant daughters. The word "capital" in "capital punishment" refers to a person\'s head. In the past, people were often executed by severing their head from their body. Today, in the U.S., most prisoners are murdered by lethal injection. Capital Punishment has been a major issue in today\'s society; seventy-five percent of Americans believe that capital punishment is constitutional and moral, and while it is a proven fact that it does not deter crime, many people are sure that \'eye for and eye\' belief should be an unquestionable law. A lot of people do not know that it costs more to execute a person than to keep him/her in prison for life, despite that 749 prisoners have been executed since 1977 and 3700 are still awaiting execution.


One of the major issues over death sentence is if it is even constitutional to execute a person. The Constitution does not directly state whether the capital punishment is legal but it mentioned in two amendments. The Fifth Amendment states " ... nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law..." (The Constitution of the United States, 5th amendment). Abolitionists (people that are in favor of abolishing the capital punishment) find their argument in another amendment: "... nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted" (The Constitution of the United States, 8th amendment). Abolitionists also find support in the Christianity: during the Sermon of the Mount, Jesus urged to replace the old law of \'an eye for and eye and tooth for a tooth\' with an attitude of charity, even towards those who would commit evil against people (Mw 5:38-48); similar statements are mentioned in the Old Testament (Rom 12:19-21). For example, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) condemning on public execution of a woman for adultery. John 8:7, (NKJ). One must note that although that Christianity is against murdering, the bible requires the death penalty for a wide variety of crimes, including sex before marriage, adultery, homosexual behavior, doing work on Saturday and murder. Fortunately, Most Christians, with the exception of those in the Reconstructionist movement, feel that many of these grounds for the death penalty no longer apply to Christian societies.


One hundred and eleven countries ether have abolished or are in a process of abolishment of the death penalty; United States is one of the eighty-six countries that retain practice of the execution as a punishment and their number is rapidly decreasing. Hundreds of studies have been conducted regarding that issue but very few have been able to prove anything in specific. But while most people think that a key advantage of the death penalty over life imprisonment is a money issue (it saves taxpayers a lot of money not to keep those prisoners locked up) the actual cost if execution is much higher than keeping them in prison for life. A 1993 California study showed that that each death penalty case costs at least 1.25$ million more than a regular murder case and a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. But another problem arises, despite that is cheaper to keep some one in prison for life, there is always a chance of that person regaining freedom by one way or another; that chance can be as small as .0001% but that criminal can always repeat his crimes while being unbound. Moreover, most of those criminals have nothing to loose anyway, meaning that they will use any opportunity to escape, even if it means claiming other lives. Many people see capital punishment as a racist edict, since 80% of inmates on federal death row are African-Americans, Hispanic or from other minority group, although most of people that are executed are white (56 out 74 for 2001). But it is a fact that the death penalty in the U.S. is essentially a product of Southern culture, mostly because 61 of the 71 executions were in