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Capital Punishment or the Death Penalty (exploratory)

Essay by   •  June 28, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,080 Words (5 Pages)  •  2,581 Views

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Capital punishment or the Death penalty as you may have been present in the United States for quite some time. The first execution has been dated as far back as the 18th century B.C. Execution was introduced to the United States by the Europeans when they came over in the 1600's. The first execution was recorded in the United States and it took place in the colony of Jamestown, Virginia in the year of 1608. The first female to be executed in the United States was in the year of 1632 and it too also took place in the new colonies. Each colony had its own law on execution, and some crimes that required execution as a punishment in Virginia, didn't necessarily mean that the same applied in Pennsylvania.

In present time capital punishment is a very controversial topic which many people have strong, different views on. The first perspective I am going to introduce is the cost of capital punishment while awaiting execution. Statistics shows on average, an inmate on death row spends roughly about 12 to 25 years on death row. While waiting on death row an inmate is allowed to put in an appeal to reverse their prison sentence or to reverse their death sentence. In many states they are allowed one appeal, but the process for that one appeal may take up to ten years. The appeal goes through four processes which are Automatic Appeal, State Habeas Corpus Petition, Federal Habeas Corpus Petition, and Clemency. These processes are put into place to allow the inmate his or her constitutional rights, and the right to due process. According to statistics, just to house an inmate for 1 year it's around $22,000, and on a life without parole sentence it cost roughly around $1.2 million dollars! To have an inmate executed depends on the state. They can range anywhere from 1.2 million to 11.6 million. In this perspective many people would say that they are against capital punishment because of the cost.

Another major factor why people are against capital punishment is wrongful convictions. Since the year 1963, due to wrongful convictions there have been 130 people released from death row. Ten wrongfully convicted felons were released from death row in 2003. The Bureau of Justice Statistics and the U.S. Department of Justice have admitted that between about 8% to 12% of all inmates are indeed innocent. So far since 1989 there have 272 exonerations in the United States. Statistics show that 17 out of 272 people are exonerated through DNA. DNA is one of the many reasons why people get wrongfully convicted but the list is exhausting. Some of the unfortunate reasons why people get wrongfully accused is insufficient legal representation, perjury, racial prejudice (out of the 272 exonorees 161 were African American and where wrongfully accused), jailhouse informants, and political pressure. Previously I mentioned on how the cost of processing appeals is expensive and extensive, but it is also good because it gives the courts to review the cases and exonerate innocent people. The only problem is the cost and the time spent.

Some people think that capital punishment deters crime so they are for it, others believe that capital

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