In your weekly reading assignments, read the article written by Brad J. Bushman, Ph.D. entitled Dr. Bushman indicates eight (8) reasons why he believes the United States should join over 140 other countries in abolishing the death penalty. In response to the article, write a letter to Dr. Bushman either in support of, or in opposition to, his position. Your paper should be two (2) pages, written in APA format.
Dear Dr. Bushman,
I hope this letter finds you well. I recently had the opportunity to read your article on why the United States should join other countries in abolishing the death penalty. Your arguments were well-reasoned and thought-provoking, and I commend you for bringing attention to this important issue. In this letter, I would like to express my support for your position by further analyzing and expanding upon the points you raised.
Firstly, I completely agree with your assertion that the death penalty is irreversible and inherently flawed. As you highlighted in your article, numerous cases of wrongful convictions have been uncovered in the United States, and in some instances, individuals on death row have been exonerated after new evidence came to light. This indicates that mistakes can and do occur in the criminal justice system, and the permanent nature of the death penalty makes it impossible to rectify such errors. The fallibility of human judgment, combined with the finality of the death penalty, presents a significant risk to innocent lives.
Furthermore, your argument regarding the potential for racial bias within the application of the death penalty is crucial. Studies have consistently shown that race plays a significant role in the determination of who receives the death penalty. As you mentioned, African American defendants are more likely to receive death sentences compared to their white counterparts when the victim is white. This alarming disparity raises questions about the fairness and impartiality of the criminal justice system and suggests that the death penalty is disproportionately applied based on race.
Another crucial point you made concerns the cost-effectiveness of the death penalty. It is no secret that capital punishment is an expensive endeavor. Legal proceedings for death penalty cases can be lengthy and complex, requiring additional resources and specialized expertise. In an era of strained budgets and limited resources, it is essential to consider whether this allocation of funds could be better spent on other areas, such as crime prevention and rehabilitation programs. By abolishing the death penalty, we could redirect these resources towards initiatives that have demonstrated positive impact in reducing crime rates and fostering societal well-being.
Moreover, your argument regarding the potential for the death penalty to perpetuate a cycle of violence and vengeance is compelling. The fundamental principle of an eye for an eye, while emotionally satisfying for some, fails to address the underlying issues surrounding crime and fails to promote healing and social cohesion. Retributive justice often perpetuates a culture of violence and prevents the possibility of restorative justice, where both the offender and the victim can find healing and a resolution to the harm caused.
Additionally, I appreciate your emphasis on the international context and the global perspective on the death penalty. The fact that the majority of countries worldwide have abolished capital punishment is a powerful indicator of the prevailing global stance on this issue. It underscores the evolving consensus that the death penalty is a violation of human rights and does not align with contemporary standards of justice. The United States, as a leading nation in championing democracy, should strive to align its policies with international norms and values.
In conclusion, I wholeheartedly support your position on abolishing the death penalty in the United States. The arguments you presented highlight the flaws and injustices inherent in this form of punishment, including the potential for wrongful convictions, racial bias, excessive costs, perpetuation of violence, and international consensus against the practice. By abolishing the death penalty, we can strive towards a more just and humane society that upholds the principles of fairness, equality, and respect for human life.
Thank you for your thoughtful contribution to this important discourse. I believe that your article serves as a catalyst for further examination and discussion, and I hope that it will inspire meaningful change in our criminal justice system.