Junior Editorial: Abolish the Death Penalty

By: Connor Jalbert, Junior

The death penalty is the most immoral and merciless punishment in the United States. That it is legal in 27 of the 50 states is disgraceful. No human being should be able to determine whether someone lives or dies.

I’m not the only person who believes this. Michael Eric Dyson, a well respected professor from the prestigious Vanderbilt University feels that the death penalty is unjust. Dyson states that, “The death penalty is the harshest and most unjust punishment to impose. While it may be exceedingly difficult to rehabilitate murderers, it is impossible to restore dead ones.” He couldn’t be more correct with the fact that it’s hard to change criminals, but it’s impossible to restore the dead. You never know who is capable of changing how they think and act, but once you end someone’s life, there’s no possible way of changing. U.S. citizens are granted the right to life and liberty; you can definitely make the argument that the death penalty violates these rights.

The death penalty is also much less cost effective than life in prison. The state of Kansas concluded that, on average, the death penalty costs about 1.26 million dollars, while the trial and prison time until the end of incarceration costs about $740,000. So, not only is it ending someone else’s life, but it is also costing more money for taxpayers. Would you want your money being used towards the killing of another person? Because I sure wouldn’t.

There is also the possibility that someone who is on death row is actually innocent. A total of 18 people in the U.S. have once been on death row, and after more evidence surfaced, they were set free. At least if they were just in jail they could be set free after serving time in prison. If they had been killed, then their families and friends would have to live with the fact that they were innocent.

The other side would argue that death is the only reasonable consequence for a murderer’s actions. I’d disagree because even though they committed horrible crimes, they are still humans. Sure, if someone is a threat and is still capable of harming anyone, then you have to do what’s necessary to keep people safe. But if a criminal is already taken into custody and is in jail, there is no need to take their life from them.

At the end of the day I can see why people feel that in certain situations the death penalty is necessary. But, in my opinion, it is extremely immoral and dehumanizing, not only for the criminal, but also for everyone who is given the power to make that decision.

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