There are many reasons why the death penalty should be banned in the United States. The reasons run the gamut from financial to moral, but the reasons are many.
While it is believed that it costs more to feed, clothe, and shelter life sentence/long term sentence prisoners, the costs of administering the death penalty to a condemned inmate can overreach those costs. When one takes into consideration that not only will the State have to feed, clothe, and shelter this inmate like any other and also go through the appeals process—which costs more money, other legalities, and having to find a concrete date to execute the person, the whole process is an extreme drain on funds.
The appeals process results in an extension of time for the condemned. As it stands, the inmate is usually not assigned a death penalty date for a while. When appeals are set into motion, grounds have to be filed, the official or officials of a district have to review the case to see if there are legitimate grounds for a retrial or if the condemn stays on death row. This can take some for the judge to get around to given the docket. He or she could tend to the case in as little as a few months or a little over a year. It’s all about scheduling and timing.
If grounds are legit, then the process of preparing for a case begins. The date is usually not addressed for some time. This is more time that the condemned is sitting in jail and more money spent on taking care of them. Also the State is spending money preparing for the case on their end. Once the case begins, the State still has to clothe, feed, and shelter the inmate as well as finance trying to make sure the inmate isn’t freed.
If the State succeeds, the inmate is returned to await the date for their sentence to be carried out. In that time appeals could’ve already been set into motion again if defense attorneys find probable grounds and process start over. The case could be taken to federal court or higher which means even more time to wait for the case to be assigned and to take action.
In short, the actual costs involved in the death penalty process could multiply the costs of keeping the inmate locked away for life.
Moral grounds tend to be shaky. The humane—or inhumane—nature of executions aside, it really comes down to the victim’s loved ones and how they feel about it. One could say that the death penalty allows for an inmate to be done away with quickly and assist in bringing closure faster so that the inmate isn’t just behind bars and not in the same condition as the victim. On the other hand it could be argued that life in a miserable institution is worse than a death sentence.
This really depends on the institution and the inmate. Some are fast adaptors and survivors and could actually thrive in prison. Not only that, but they would be familiar with their settings and the politics involved, they might or might not be given jobs to do, they get food, clothing, and shelter and some are able to still see their families granted they behave themselves. They also get medical treatment if needed and are generally under the protection of the guards. All of this could definitely leave a sour taste in the victim’s loved ones’ mouths.
There are two sides to this so the moral element is difficult to pin down.
The death penalty should be banned because your legal policies can determine what you are as a society and as a country. Places that deny women their rights and shun gays, lesbians, and transgendered people are often considered backwards. Countries that still implement the death penalty are considered barbaric even if they feel their methods of execution are humane.
Consider this: there are only a few countries in the world that still use the death penalty and in that list are countries that would be enemies to the U.S’s principles under other circumstances.
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