Why It Is Time to Abandon the Death Penalty
The death penalty violates the most fundamental of all human rights – the right to life. It can be applied in arbitrary and irrevocable ways and miscarriages of justice are inevitable.
No country can justify this punishment. It is arbitrary, ineffective and discriminatory. It also cheapens the value of life and harms society.
It is a violation of human rights
The death penalty is a violation of human rights because it undermines the dignity of every person. It violates the right to life enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It also violates the guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law. It is particularly harmful when imposed disproportionately against poor or racial minorities and when it fails to deter crime. It damages society by cheapening the value of life and denying victims their right to a fair trial.
Opponents of the death penalty cite statistics showing that states without capital punishment have lower crime rates than those that execute prisoners. They also point to the countless exonerations of Death Row inmates that demonstrate the inherent flaws in the criminal justice system. The abolition of the death penalty is gaining ground in the United States, and is supported by most countries that have abolished it in practice or have moratoriums. Physicians have a moral obligation to oppose the death penalty, which is a violation of medical ethics.
It is ineffective
In addition to being arbitrary, discriminatory, and ineffective, the death penalty is also expensive. It does not deter crime and puts a strain on prison systems. It is time to abolish the death penalty, as it violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
When police chiefs were asked to rank factors that help reduce the rate of violent crime, they ranked curbing drug use, increased staffing, and longer sentences as more effective than the death penalty. In fact, states that have abolished the death penalty have lower murder rates than those that retain it.
Furthermore, botched executions are a reminder that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime. DPIC’s research shows that prisoners on death row are more likely to be involved in prison violence, and those who have been wrongly executed have a higher risk of being killed by other inmates. In addition, some of those sentenced to die have severe mental impairments or were convicted after unfair trials.
It is discriminatory
While public support for capital punishment is linked to the desire to be free from crime, there are many more effective ways to prevent crime. Moreover, the death penalty is discriminatory. It disproportionately affects those with less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds and those belonging to racial minorities. In addition, it is difficult to overturn a death sentence based on new evidence or laws that protect against bias.
When police chiefs were asked to rank the factors that would best reduce violent crime, they ranked curbing drug use and more officers on the streets as far more effective than executions. Abolition of the death penalty would also improve America’s image abroad, where most countries have already abolished it.
There is a growing trend toward world-wide abolition of the death penalty. It is time for the United States to join this movement. Abolition would save taxpayers money by eliminating the need for lengthy appeals. It would also help prevent the exploitation of vulnerable inmates by private prison corporations.
It cheapens the value of life
When the government executes a prisoner, it cheapens the value of life. That is a clear violation of Christ’s command to forgive. Moreover, it shows a callous disregard for the mental impairments of those who are executed. For example, one man who was executed had brain damage and an intellectual disability, as well as a history of gruesome childhood abuse and neglect.
Many opponents of the death penalty argue that it prevents crime, but the evidence is mixed. In fact, most states that don’t have the death penalty have lower crime rates than those that do. In addition, it can be expensive to house prisoners for life, which makes the death penalty a waste of taxpayer money. Furthermore, the death penalty undermines the dignity of the convicted, as innocent people are frequently wrongly executed. This violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The death penalty also encourages violence in society. This is a serious concern given that it increases the risk of violent crimes, such as homicides and capital rapes.