Should the Death Penalty Be Abolished



















Should the Death Penalty Be Abolished?

The death penalty or capital punishment has evoked emotions and controversies for a long time as it is based on deciding whether another person deserves to live or to die (Sarisky). Other discussions have been on the effectiveness of the death penalty in administering justice. Due to these controversies, debates continue to exist on whether the death penalty should be abolished or not. The argument I would offer on this topic is that the death penalty should be abolished as it does not entirely heal wounds of the aggrieved parties. The fact that there are several instances of injustice where individuals are convicted of crimes they did not commit also heightens my opposition to capital punishment (Warden, 2009).Experts versed in this topic include professionals in the legal field, human rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, and medical professionals such as psychiatrists. Lawyers have had differing opinions on the issue of capital punishment, but the recent trend by professionals in the legal field has been a revision of the death penalty. This revision has resulted in the non-application of the death penalty in some cases. For instance, the American Supreme Court ceased to allow capital punishment on matters involving the rape of an adult. The American Civil Liberties Union has strongly condemned and opposed capital punishment terming it an assault on the constitutional ban of cruel and unusual punishment (ACLU, 2012). Psychiatrists have argued that capital punishment cannot be imposed on people with mental conditions despite the nature of crimes committed. Psychiatrists have argued that mentally challenged individuals commit crimes out of their dis hence should not be judged like normal people.

This topic is of interest because of the non-ending debate and controversies it has evoked. The discussion has lead to several countries gradually ceasing the use of capital punishment. Currently, over 200 states have outlawed the death penalty. The controversies have led to the United States of America leaving the decision on whether to use capital punishment to the respective states. Prior to my research, I knew that several countries had banned the death penalty. I also knew that the death penalty in countries where it is still in use only applies to cases that involved the death of another person(s). Some of the resources to be used in the study for further research include the article” CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN THE UNITED STATES AND BEYOND” by Paul Marcus that discusses the history of the death penalty in the United States of America and other places. “Reasons for Supporting And Opposing Capital Punishment in the USA: A Preliminary Study” by Lambert and his co-authors is another article that will be used in seeking more information on the topic. The article carries a multivariate analysis on the combination of reasons that explain the divide between the supporters and opponents of the death penalty.

Annotated Bibliography

ACLU. (2012). Case Against the death penalty. Retrieved from American Civil Liberties Union:

This article found in the American Civil Liberties Union sought to show that the use of capital punishment is against the American constitution. It generally illustrates how the death penalty is in direct contravention of the democracy and civil rights of the American people. The article explains that capital punishment favors a particular class in society hence bringing inequalities in American society. The article outlines that capital punishment, as applied in the USA, is dependent on several factors such as the wealthiness of an individual, how good one’s attorneys are, and also the race of the accused. These reasons, which reveal a high degree of unfairness, give credence to the argument that capital punishment should be abolished. This article calls for the abolition of the death penalty on constitutional, moral, and practical grounds and thus supports the anti-death penalty crusaders with credibility.


Sarisky, K. (n.d.). History and Controversies of Capital Punishment. California State University Stanislaus. Retrieved from

Kenny Sarisky’s article sought to provide the history of capital punishment and the cost, purpose, and methods of the death penalty that have brought the unending debate.The article looks into the application of capital punishment from the ancient civilizations through the period of English colonial rule in America and finally to the post-independent USA. The history of capital punishment reveals that the people at the various points of civilizations eventually felt that the practice was unfair, or the methods applied, such as hanging by the English, were unjust. The article also outlines that capital cases are costly and have proved to be unfair to minorities. Racism has also been cited in the application of capital punishment, with a large number of black people being executed as compared to whites since 1976. New technologies such as the use of DNA evidence has also led more calls for the cessation of the death penalty since a suspect could be exonerated of a crime years later.


Warden, R. (2009). Reflections on Capital Punishment. Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy.

The article by Rob Warden explains point by point how capital punishment is costly and has no effect on reducing or discouraging other people from committing crimes. He generally states that capital punishment is costly, both socially and economically, but has no benefit at all to the community. The main points that support the abolition of the death penalty, as pointed by Warden, include that capital punishment does not deter other people from committing crimes. By giving an example two Los Angelas police officers murdered in 1963 after stopping a car, Warden explains that capital punishment has lead to more murders being committed. Other points that discourage the death penalty, as stated by Warden, include the convictions and executions of innocent people, the costly nature of capital punishment as compared to putting individuals behind bars for life and the fact that capital punishment has not been solely used for serious crimes and is used freakishly.





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