History of Death Penalty

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Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a practice sanctioned by the government through which the state kills a person as punishment for a crime committed. Crimes that are punishable by death are generally known as capital offenses, capital crimes or felony capital.

The primary methods of execution in the United States have been electrocution, hanging, the gas chamber, firing squad, and lethal injection. It seems that the Supreme Court has never found that some of the methods of execution are unconstitutional, although some of them have been declared unconstitutional by state courts. Every day people are being executed and sentenced by the state as punishment for a variety of crimes, sometimes for crimes that should not be criminalized.


The death penalty remains in force in the United States. At least 30 states exist where the death penalty is legal, with approximately 2,000 prisoners in those states awaiting execution. These people can spend years om death row, not knowing when it’s their turn to be executed. The United States must abolish the death penalty because it is an old, expensive, ineffective and unfair punishment. Taking the life of another human being even if it is through capital punishment only creates a cycle of violence. The purpose of our criminal justice system is being compromised by the use of the death penalty. The death penalty has no purpose that cannot be fulfilled through our judicial system.


There is no evidence to suggest that the use of the death penalty reduces crime levels. Countless studies have shown that the use of the death penalty does not prevent criminals from committing violent acts and that many states that oppose the death penalty tend to have a lower incidence of crimes. Killing a person is not at all a rational method. The death penalty does not act as a deterrent, it is wrong to think that those who commit heinous crimes think rationally before committing their actions. Life imprisonment is rather considered a deterrent to rehabilitation, being many times worse than death itself, since life in prison allows the person to be rehabilitated, while death is final. A study conducted in 2014 by Pew Research Center Analysis found that the population has been less favorable towards the use of execution and that state institutions have also rejected the use of the death penalty. This has allowed the fall of violent crimes around the United States on a large scale.

Racial Discrimination

A study from the governors of Maryland found that “defendants who killed white victims were more likely to proceed to a criminal trial and more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed a black man (McElwee, 2013)”. Of those sentenced to death, 42% of them are black, but blacks represent less than 15% of the population. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO), analyzed 28 studies on capital punishment and found that 82% of these studies, the victim’s race influenced the probability that she was charged with capital murder or received the death penalty, in other words, that citizen who murdered a person of white wealth was more likely to be put to death than those who murdered a person of the black race. This discrimination parameter is very predominant in many states.


The death penalty is a much more expensive method than the use of life imprisonment without parole as an alternative punishment. Why the death penalty is so costly comes mainly from the trials and appeals that are required if a person’s life is at risk, the use of lawyers and experts on both sides of the case, the cost ends up being high. Mostly the defendants who have been sentenced to the death penalty end up spending a great period of their life in prison, but at a very high cost since the death penalty was involved. A Cost Study by the Sacramento Bee noted that California could save $ 90 million annually if they eliminated the death penalty in full.

A Cost Study by the Sacramento Bee noted that California could save $ 90 million annually if they eliminated the death penalty in full. Unlike a death sentence, life in prison costs much less.


The death penalty turns the country and its system into a mechanism of controlled force that only directs the desire for revenge, instead of eliminating violence it is the creator of itself.

We have made the phrase “an eye for an eye” a fundamental key when discussing the life of a person who is at risk. The death penalty is the greatest cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. We have to put an end to the death penalty, without exception of a case, try to look and not feel revenge, regardless of who is accused, or the circumstances of how the crime was committed, or if it is innocent or guilty. “The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it (Amnesty, n.d)”.

Cite this paper

History of Death Penalty. (2020, Sep 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/history-of-death-penalty/

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