When our founding fathers created this country, they wanted to prevent any American citizen from being a victim of cruel and unusual punishment, as per the Eighth Amendment. However, they still kept the death penalty around as capital punishment for particularly heinous crimes, such as premeditated murder. The death penalty is still used to this day, yet many are still divided on the issue of having it. The detractors state that the death penalty is the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment, and it is quite hypocritical for the country to still use it as murder is considered the worst offense you can commit in court. Nonetheless, there are many good reasons as to still allow the death penalty.
There is the fact that having the death penalty provides the ultimate warning for would-be criminals. If people were aware of the detrimental consequences of their actions, they are far less likely to do it. Same applies here. It is true that if someone is bent on killing, they will disregard this reason. However, those who are not so quick to kill will take this weighty sentence into consideration and will be more likely to spare their potential victim’s life.
Another reason to retain the death penalty is that keeping someone in jail for a prolonged time will eventually cause the taxpayers to suffer. Take this for example. A gang member was convicted for leading a deadly crime spree in the Atlanta area in 2010. He received 250 years in prison. The people he killed are estimated to be in the double digits. Now the taxpayers, a majority of them law-abiding citizens who did nothing immoral, have to contribute for his room and board for the rest of his life. If he had received the death penalty, they would only have to do that for 15 years and be done with it. This man is now in his twenties. If many had to choose between paying for 15-20-somethings years or 60-70 something-years, they would go with the former.
While the death penalty may seem duplicitous, that is only looking at the superficial side of things. At least in America, the court system generally tries to make the punishment fit the crime. If one plans to deprive another human being of life, they are showing utter disregard for life in general. If they do not care, then the justice system is under no obligation to be concerned with their life either. It would not be hypocritical to punish a killer by killing them; it is just a fit punishment for an inhuman crime.
Speaking of punishment, a sentence like this would stand to provide closure any victims’ families’ need. In a lot of cases, criminals are shown more sympathy than victims’ families, putting much greater emphasis of their rights than others involved. However, the criminal deprived them of a loved one. They have caused indescribable grief. While their grief may never truly vanish, the offender’s execution would instill a sense of relief and satisfaction that justice was served, and they could never hurt anyone else again.
Lastly, one of the most prevalent arguments against the death penalty is there is possibility of error. True, the court can never be completely, 100 percent, certain about everything. 20 years ago, this would have been a legitimate issue. However, with DNA being as advanced as it is today, there is very little room for mistake. Additionally, the appeals process after a death sentence is so thorough and tedious that it is next to impossible for doubt.
The death penalty should not be abolished due to it being seen as a cruel and hypocritical punishment. If people were able to stop committing such disgusting acts against humanity, there would not be a need for topics such as this one.