The death penalty has existed since the beginning of the United States judicial system. It has been a controversial issue for as long as anyone can remember. For the death penalty, there is an array of explanations that can convince people that it is an infraction to human rights and a corruption to the American image. On the other hand, there is another collection of arguments that can persuade people into believing the death penalty is a tool to stop insensitive criminals from harming innocent citizens. It is ruled that people strive to think the death penalty is an equivalent punishment for murder, causing the poll’s results to show that a majority of people support the death penalty in the United States. However, when there are alternative punishments that would replace the death penalty, less than the majority of people believe to keep the death penalty in place. According to the results, solutions that will replace the death penalty are favored. So with uncertainties about the United State’s system of implementation, the death penalty, a punishment favored to be eradicated, should be replaced with alternatives to convict criminals of serious grade.
There are many reasons on why the death penalty should be abolished and possibly reformed. Many instances and reasons make people believe the death penalty has eliminated innocent lives. Since humans are not perfect, our judicial system and evidence inquiry is not perfect. This creates a slight chance of imperfection to the sentence of a possibly innocent life. In the case of Jesse Tafero and Sonia Jacobs, a couple convicted of killing a Florida state trooper, were sentenced with the death penalty. Two years after Tafero’s execution, the federal court released his wife and they were proven innocent (The Death Penalty 37). Although people who support the death penalty would say it has punished those of criminal actions, it has also caused punishment to innocent lives. Another reason why the death penalty should be abolished is because of racial injustice and the lack of attorney representation. The death penalty discriminates against racial minorities because it is shown that more criminals get the death sentence when it is a white victim rather than a black victim. It is believed that a higher percent of defendants sentenced with the death penalty are African American and not Caucasian. In 2000, a study by the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that 72 percent of cases the attorney general approved for death penalty persecution involved defendants of color (Henningfeld 120). Moreover, lack of attorney representation makes the death penalty unfair. When an inmate does not have enough money to hire a personal lawyer, the state supplies them with the district attorney. With these district attorneys, personnel who are thought to not have the skill and experience for murder cases, it is believed that the inmates have more of a chance of being prosecuted with the death penalty. With all of these explanations stated, it is obvious that the death penalty should be abolished or adjusted.
To reform the death penalty, many solutions have been proposed to amend the punishments for those criminals of serious grade. An alternative idea to prevent injustice in the death penalty is that inmates should choose their fate by accepting or declining the death penalty. When a person commits a gruesome crime, the one and only right that should be given to them is the choice of deciding between life in prison with no parole or the death penalty. If the criminal was willing to choose his own death, then that would possibly mean that the inmate was guilty. With this method in action, court costs would reduce because there would be fewer appeals and lower trial costs from eliminating the death sentence. With this method of punishment, it seems that both parties would have one positive thing, the inmates can choose for their life and the U.S. government would have a reduction in trial costs.
Another solution that would modify the death penalty includes making the criminals attend reformatories and rehabilitation centers to later be released into society. Reformatories are facilities specifically to rehabilitate the inmates challenged physically, mentally, and morally. Although reformatories are commonly used for juvenile delinquents that range from the ages of 16 to 25, they should be used for adults (The Death Penalty Information Center). Contenders to this solution would say that it is reasonable to reshape teenage lives that have commenced their course in the real world, however, reshaping the lives of mature adults would be. Even though that is rational, it is believed that people can change their way of life. For example, many Americans who are addicted to drugs are capable of staying sober and being completely rehabilitated. In fact, most criminals that are on parole have never committed a violent crime again when re-entering society. This method of rehabilitation is a good solution to the death penalty since it creates a civilized approach to punishment.
The last solution that is capable of reforming the death penalty includes that of restitution. Restitution is the act of forcing convicts to work and use their earned money to pay a percentage to the city and to the families affected by their crime. Instead of using taxpayer money to compensate for housing prisoners in cells, the convicts themselves are able to help pay for the food, lighting, and water. Although this sanction seems very beneficial to the country, counterarguments would support the claim that the amount of money given to an inmate in prison is not even enough to buy a cigarette or candy. With this being true, the simple solution is to increase their pay. To make restitution more feasible, an inmate must be required to work 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, for over 25 years at $3 per hour to earn $150,000. This money can be received by the family that was affected by the criminal. Restitution would reduce the need of vengeance from the victim’s family since there would be some sort of satisfaction knowing that the person who inflicted suffering into their family is repaying them for their wrongdoing.
In the United States judicial system, many Americans have argued about the situation on punishing criminals of severe status. One of those choices for convicting criminals includes the death penalty, a punishment that cannot be reversed once executed. Since that punishment is irreversible, there is no room for mistakes. So with the belief that humans and their social systems are not perfect, uncertainties about the United State’s system of implementation are developed. Therefore, the death penalty should be replaced and solved with alternatives. The best of the alternative punishments includes that of the restitution where criminals work in jail to pay the city and the victim’s family. So overall, since citizens have qualms about the United State’s system of punishment, the death penalty should be abolished and substituted to condemn criminals of severe grade.