The Funds for the Death Penalty Should Be Put Elsewhere

The Funds for the Death Penalty Should Be Put Elsewhere

Katelyn Benoit , Editor/Author

The Death Penalty. Execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense. The death penalty, often known as capital punishment, was introduced to America when European settlers came to the new world. Ever since then, the death penalty has been evolved and used for more serious crimes compared to stealing grapes and killing chickens. Crimes that are a felony where a death occurred can be charged as murder. That can lead to a punishment of death penalty even though you didn’t directly commit that crime.  

Since 1973, about 1,636 people have been executed by the death penalty. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, “For every nine people, one person on death row has been exonerated.” Factors that can drive wrongful convictions in non-capital cases and death penalty cases include, “erroneous eyewitness identifications, false and coerced confessions, inadequate legal defense, false or misleading forensic evidence, and false accusations or perjury by witnesses who are promised lenient treatment or other incentives in exchange for their testimony. “Wrongful convictions for the death penalty are a serious thing that happens across the world. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, “Since 1973 more than 185 people have been released from death row with evidence of innocence. An average 3.94 wrongly convicted death row prisoners have been exonerated each year since 1973.” This capital punishment carries a heavy risk of executing innocent people.  

The death penalty, out of all the criminal offense punishments, is the most expensive punishment. It is far more expensive than life without parole. A study was conducted in California about the costs of the death penalty. This study showed that the cost of the death penalty was over $4 billion since 1978. In Florida, to even enforce the death penalty costs $1 million a year. That is above what it would cost to punish all first-degree murderers with life in prison without parole. The whole country does not have the death penalty enforced in their criminal justice system.  

The states without the death penalty are Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. As capital punishment declines across the country, Alabama still sentences more people to death than every other state. 

In my opinion, I think the death penalty should be abolished or rarely used. Capital punishment is a very expensive sentence. The money that is not used for death penalty should be used in prison systems to build and incorporate programs like education programs, rehab programs, and job programs to get them back into society as a functioning human being. These programs could reduce the amount of times a past convicted criminal goes back to prison.