Killing the Death Penalty 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 recently read your article titled “Killing the Death Penalty” and found it to be a thought-provoking and insightful piece on the topic. As an avid supporter of abolishing the death penalty, I commend you for highlighting eight compelling reasons why the United States should join the majority of nations in doing away with this practice. In this letter, I would like to express my support for your position and provide additional evidence to further strengthen the arguments against capital punishment.
First and foremost, your argument regarding the fallibility of the justice system resonates strongly with me. It is an undeniable fact that errors occur in our criminal justice system, and sentencing an innocent person to death is an irreversible and egregious mistake. Numerous cases of wrongful convictions have come to light, thanks to advancements in DNA testing and the tireless efforts of organizations such as the Innocence Project. The risk of executing an innocent individual is simply too high, and the potential loss of innocent lives is a compelling reason to abolish the death penalty.
Furthermore, the argument that capital punishment violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment is another crucial point that deserves attention. Many argue that the death penalty, particularly the methods of execution used, can inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on the condemned. The use of lethal injection, for example, has been a subject of ongoing controversy due to concerns about botched executions and the potential for intense pain experienced by the individual. This raises serious ethical questions about the morality of executing individuals in a manner that may violate their constitutional rights.
Additionally, the racial and socioeconomic disparities in the application of the death penalty cannot be ignored. Studies have consistently shown that individuals from marginalized communities are disproportionately represented on death row. This raises concerns about the fairness and impartiality of the capital punishment system, as it appears to be influenced by factors such as race and socioeconomic status. Such disparities undermine the fundamental principles of justice and equality that our society aspires to uphold.
Moreover, the argument that the death penalty fails to deter crime is supported by numerous studies and statistical analyses. The threat of execution has been shown to have little to no effect on deterring potential criminals from committing serious offenses. Countries that have abolished the death penalty have not experienced a surge in crime rates, which suggests that alternative measures, such as life imprisonment without parole, can effectively serve as a deterrent while avoiding the moral complexities associated with taking a life.
Another aspect that I found particularly compelling in your article is the financial burden that the death penalty imposes on taxpayers. Maintaining a death row population and going through lengthy legal processes for capital punishment cases is an exorbitantly expensive endeavor. Studies have consistently shown that it is far more cost-effective to sentence individuals to life imprisonment without parole than to continue pursuing capital punishment. The resources saved could be redirected towards initiatives that have proven to contribute to crime prevention, such as education and rehabilitation programs.
Furthermore, the argument of international consensus against the death penalty cannot be overlooked. The United States stands in the minority by continuing to practice capital punishment, with most of the Western world having abolished it. Joining the global consensus would demonstrate a commitment to human rights and would align us with the principles of fairness and justice upheld by the international community.
In conclusion, I wholeheartedly support your position on abolishing the death penalty. The fallibility of the justice system, the potential for cruel and unusual punishment, racial and socioeconomic disparities, the lack of deterrence, the financial burden, and international consensus are all compelling reasons to end this practice. By doing so, we can move towards a more just and compassionate society that values the sanctity of human life and upholds the principles of fairness and equality.
Thank you for your thought-provoking article, and I hope to see continued progress in the movement to abolish the death penalty.