The article talks about the U.S. judicail system for the death penalty and why it does not work.

Jacqueline L Basehar

Professor Trafton


March 11, 2012


The Ineffective Death Penalty



Looking at our judicial system, more specifically the "Court system"; it is a flawed area of our judicial system that does not work in the slightest.  First of all, we have the Death Penalty which is no longer a deterrent to crime. Criminals would rather face Life without Parole (LWOP) than sit on death row. The judge is faced with a tough decision to either sentence an individual to a prison sentence or a death penalty. Who really wants someone else's blood on their hands?  Second, we the people are left to look at the expenses LWOP or Death Penalty burden us the taxpayers with. Either way the Death Sentence does not work, our system is slow and has too many loop holes that allow our criminals to cheat it and sit on death row for their remaining time.  Are these the real issues that the justice system is facing, or we as people blaming the wrong people for the direction we are headed in; and if so what will we do to fix it?


"People fear nothing more than death.  Therefore, nothing will deter a criminal more than the fear of death... life in prison is less feared." (HAAG). Individuals, who commit any sort of heinous crime


that could result in the death penalty, should face just that.  It should not matter what the individuals’ mental state was.  People who act with no remorse should be dealt with quickly and efficiently. From state to state the conviction differs with or without Capital Punishment.  Criminals will be criminals and act in violence if that is what they were raised in, the laws will not change that.  It will take an act of society to change and fix the moral compass of America.  The majority of people fighting for the protection of rights are criminals.  As long as the "Criminal justice system" keeps on helping criminals, criminals will continue to think that they are above the law.  Just as it says it is a justice system for criminals.  According to a survey of the former and present presidents of the country’s top academic criminological societies, 88% of these experts rejected the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder.  (Radelet & Lacock, 2009) This may be true, in that the death penalty will not deterrent crime; but, better to go with the death penalty than to pay for a killers life behind bars. If the country did go towards the death penalty then we would be able to see what kind of effect it has on society; and until then we really do not know.  "[T]here is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment. States that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws.  And states that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates.  The death penalty has no deterrent effect. Claims that each execution deters a certain number of murders have been thoroughly discredited by social science research." (ProCon). Without a true passion from our correction system to actually change the lives of criminals there will never be a change. ( graph is available at this link)



The death penalty is a flawed process; and those who are allowed in our government to take one's life.  It is not anyone's decision to take any one's life; but, the individual who has committed a crime.  As long as no one cares about the people in the corrections system, then work shops or even theory groups will never work.  The correction system needs to be a rehabilitation system so that criminals can be trained to return to society once they have completed the rehabilitation process. If not then there is no purpose for them. The character and standards that should be in our employees of the justice system are not there.  Every individual should go through the same process that a police officers have to go through which include polygraphs and background checks in order to hold a position in the justice system.  We are looking for individuals of character who are above just the average.  People who think they can truly make a difference. It is more than just swearing into office and saying you will uphold the law or office which you are sworn to serve; but to take a real interest in the lives of those people who you are suppose to serve.  Another issue related to the death penalty is that there is a shortage of sodium thiopental, the drug used for lethal injections. Italy has refused to ship the drug to Texas on the grounds that the death penalty is morally wrong.  America is too arrogant to listen to the cry for a new moral compass from the likes of our fellow western countries (Michael/Smuddaily). Other countries think that America is morally wrong for the death penalty. We should not decide our thinking on what others think but what is right. "Ultimately, the moral question surrounding capital punishment in America has less to do with whether those convicted of violent crime deserve to die than with whether state and federal governments deserve to kill those whom it has imprisoned. The legacy of racial apartheid, racial bias, and ethnic discrimination is unavoidably evident in the administration of capital punishment in America.  Death sentences are imposed in a criminal justice system that treats you better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent. This is an immoral condition that makes rejecting the death penalty on moral grounds not only defensible but necessary for those who refuse to accept unequal or unjust administration of punishment." (Bryan/ProCon) As long as we look only at the outside picture of individuals and not judge them on the grounds of their inner morals, than the justice system will always be corrupt in someone’s eyes.  People will always play the race card no matter what the circumstance is. People do not care about one another; that is unfortunately the way it is, everyone is just looking out for themselves.


If you look at what the reality cost of death could merely cost us the tax payers an easy $50, but life on death row will cost us over millions of dollars. The justice system is a joke.  Just as a parent should do with their child, do as you say and not repeat yourself.  There should be no waiting period for someone else's death.  It should be dealt with quickly and efficiently.  The greatest costs associated with the death penalty occur prior to and during trial, not in post-conviction proceedings.  Even if all post-conviction proceedings (appeals) were abolished, the death penalty would still be more expensive than the alternative sentences (Amnestyusa).  The court system is going to pay the same amount of money on a trial seeking the death penalty or a trial seeking life in prison.  When a death sentence is pending, everything multiplies; amounts of hearings, lawyers, etc.  Once again our system is a joke with the multiple appeals


that one is allowed to have.  Not only is there an issue with the appeals and how many people get but the cost of living expenses in which way our court allows criminals to live is outrageous. Our criminals have a more lavish life in the system than someone who is not a criminal and works hard to have what they do. We do not treat our criminals like criminals should be treated. Our system has veered far from the tracks where it once sat. Even if the death penalty is more money than life in prison and that trail would take longer in dealing with capital punishment, shouldn’t every individual get those same rights while taking away their free will and happiness from their family? The court should put the same effort in dealing with all cases when it takes someone’s rights away.  Below is a graph that shows national pole of abolishing the death penalty and using the money for other ways to prevent crime.  Many believe that if we take the money that is used for the death penalty process it can go towards other areas that are needing help. Such as schools, libraries, police and crime prevention programs, creating jobs, etc.



While sitting in prison the criminal can truly repent in time for their crimes? If you treat a person like an animal that is what society will get, an animal.  The entire correctional system needs to change in order for the individuals serving time to truly have a chance to change.  Whatever someone learns growing up in life they will continue that way throughout life.  Criminals need to be trained to be a part of society, where money should not be an issue.  Either we truly take care of the individuals that need help to change or there is no point. "Society is justly ordered when each person receives what is due to him. Crime disturbs this just order, for the criminal takes from people their lives, peace, liberties, and worldly goods in order to give him undeserved benefits. Deserved punishment protects society morally by restoring this just order, making the wrongdoer pay a price equivalent to the harm he has done (Budziszewski/ProCon). With this idea it sounds like an eye for an eye. If this is true than we will all be blind.


The Death Penalty is part of our branch in our judicial system that needs work and a more toughly strict process. Morally the government needs to remember their oaths they made and uphold them. Criminals will always act spontaneous without thinking of the consequences that will forever impact them. The taxpayers will be affected by the large amounts of fees because of the flaws we have in the system. It takes someone to truly care about others to change something.  Maybe we are looking at the wrong person to fix the situation.  Instead of figuring out how we are going to deal with criminals and whether the death penalty is right or wrong.  We ought to say how can we help these people.  Is revenge and payback a part of our countries foundation? Or are we a county of grace, compassion, love, and hope? We always seem to be helping everybody, but ourselves and in doing so putting or own people on the back burner. America needs to stop and take a good look at itself in the mirror and ask is this direction that we are going in, is this I want for my children.  Most, I hope would say no.  It does not take a lot; but one to make a difference. Will You?








"Death Penalty Information Center." Facts about the Death Penalty. Apr. 2012.Web. 11 Apr. 2012.


"Know the Facts About Capital Punishment." Death Penalty Cost. Amnesty International USA, 2012.web. 6 Apr. 2012.


"Balanced Politics." Web. FINDLAW, 2004.22 Apr. 2012. “Is the death penalty immoral?”, 30 July 2008. Web. 16 Apr2012


Dearman, Michael. "Death penalty is expression of nations's skewed moral compass." The Daily Campus. Daily Campus, Wednesay Feb. 2011.Web. 8 Apr. 2012.


Submitted: April 30, 2012

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