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Death Penalty: Essay Against the Use of Capital Punishment
The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It denies criminals their natural born right to life. The first established death penalty laws date as far back as the Eighteenth Century B.C. Death sentences were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, andimpalement. In the Tenth Century A.D., hanging became the usual method of execution in Britain. The number of capital crimes in Britain continued to rise throughout the next two centuries. By the 1700s, 222 crimes were punishable by death in Britain. Britain influenced America's use of the death penalty more than any other country. When European settlers came to the new world, they brought the practice ofcapital punishment. The plague of our current society. The death penalty should be abolished because it has never been shown to deter crimes more effectively than other punishments, there are serious economic consequences, and it involves a heightened risk of error.

First, the death penalty has never been shown to deter crimes more effectively than other punishments. Recent studies in Oklahomaand California failed to find that capital punishment had a deterrent effect on violent crime and, in fact, found a significant increase in stranger killings and homicide rates after the death penalty had been reinstated. Most people who commit murders either do not expect to be caught or do not carefully weigh the differences between a possible execution and life in prison before they commit theact. These murders are most often committed in moments of blinding anger or passion.

Furthermore, there are serious economic consequences. Various state governments estimate that a single death penalty case, from the point of arrest to execution, ranges from $1 million to $3 million per case. Other studies have estimated the cost to be as high as $7 million. The millions of dollars spent oncapital punishment cuts into resources for other community interests, such as schools, hospitals, public safety, and jobs. For example, Taxpayers in Florida are spending an average of $2.3 million on each execution which is over six times what it would cost for life without parole. In addition, New York brought back the death penalty in 1995, even though the department of corrections estimated thatit would cost over $2 million per case and approximately $118 million annually. That same year, state leaders complained that there was a budget shortfall and made dramatic cuts in funding for public higher education and health care. Similarly, New Jersey spent $16 million to impose the death penalty. The next year, the state laid off 500 police officers because they could not afford to pay them.The death penalty should be abolished because it involves a heightened risk or error. The risks of inaccurate judgment have been elevated because the death penalty has become a politicized issue that is commonly used in campaigns for judges and district attorneys who are elected to their positions. Those judges and prosecutors are motivated to sentence as many defendants to death as theypossibly can to maintain a record of being “tough on crime.” Also, due to the high emotions surrounding murder cases, there is great pressure on law enforcement officials to solve homicides quickly. Such pressure may lead to misconduct by the investigators and prosecutors. In addition, murders frequently lack eyewitnesses, forcing the prosecutors to use less reliable sources for evidence, such asjailhouse snitches, accomplices looking for reduced sentences and coerced confessions from defendants. Because of these high risks there have been recent cases of mistaken execution or conviction. Leo Jones was convicted of murdering a police officer in Jacksonville, Florida on March 28, 1998. Jones signed a confession after several hours of police interrogation, but he later claimed the confession...
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