An issue that has continually created tension in today's society is whether the death penalty serves as a justified and valid form of punishment. Whenever the word "deathpenalty" comes up, extremists from both sides start yelling out their arguments. One side says deterrence, the other side says there's a potential of executing an innocent man; one says justice,retribution, and punishment; the other side says execution is murder. Crime is an evident part of society, and everyone is aware that something must be done about it. Today, the death penalty remains anineffective method of punishment for murder and other heinous crimes.
The death penalty is not a deterrent because most people who commit murders either do not expect to be caught or do not weighthe differences between a possible execution and life in prison before they act. Frequently, murders are committed in moments of passion or anger, or by criminals who are substance abusers andacted impulsively.
The emotional impulse for revenge is not a sufficient justification for a call to a system of capital punishment, with all its accompanying problems and risks. The criminal justicesystem should lead us to higher principles that demonstrate a complete respect for life, even the life of a murderer. Encouraging our basest motives of revenge, which ends in another killing, extendsthe chain of violence. Allowing executions sanctions killing as a form of 'pay-back.'
The risk of executing the innocent precludes the use of the death penalty. The death penalty alone imposes anirrevocable sentence. Once an inmate is executed, nothing can be done to make amends if a mistake has been made. There is considerable evidence that many mistakes have been made in sentencing peopleto death.
Until arbitrary factors, like economics and geography, can be eliminated as a determinant of who lives and who dies, the death penalty must not be used.
By: Angela Colmenares.