Why capital punishment should be abolished in the United States

Why capital punishment should be abolished in the United States

Capital punishment is an institutionalized practice of sentencing and executing a crime offender after conviction by a court of law.  It is also known as death penalty. This punishment is done in response to misconduct by an offender following an authorized process to conclude that the individual is guilty of violating norms or values that warrant execution. Capital punishment should be abolished because it violates an offender’s right against cruel and unusual punishment, it is costly and also it may involve death of am innocent individual.

Capital punishment in the United States (US) should be abolished because it violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment. Killing, as a form of punishment is usually regarded as an exaggerated form of paying back for any crime since no crime equals denial to life. According to the eight amendment of the US constitution, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,” (Stevenson and Stinneford, 2021 para 1). This amendment prohibits the US government from carrying out harsh punishments on criminals. The American Civil Liberties Union believes that capital punishment is a disputed denial of liberty of civilians and does not match with the fundamental values of the US democratic system, (The American Civil Liberties Union, 2021). This form of punishment should be abolished as it undermines an offenders constitutional right.

Death penalty should not be considered as a form of punishment since it involves incurrence of high costs. Huge amounts of monetary resources are spent when carrying out capital punishment. According to California Innocent Project (2021), more than 308 million dollars is spent on the execution of a single law offender. If, instead, those executed are sentenced to life, the same deterrent effect would be achieved. This would save money which could be used to improve the criminal justice system such as improving public safety or provision of resource to prevent wrong convictions.

Punishment on criminals by death penalty should be abolished since an innocent individual may be killed. Once executed, life of the one executed cannot be retrieved and the mistake cannot be undone. “Not only are there fewer and fewer death sentences and executions, but more and more inmates are being removed from death row alive, because of errors that resulted in their convictions or sentences being vacated or commuted or because they were innocent” (Coleman E.C, 2018  p.21). The court system may make a wrong conclusion for an offender then realize later that the “offender” was innocent. If already executed, the mistake cannot be undone and this will degrade the quality of the judicial system in the eyes of the people.

In conclusion, capital punishment should be abolished since it is more harmful than good. Though it eliminates murderers by fair retribution and saves potential futures victims it has severe consequences. It violates the constitution amendment hence seems inconsistent with the federal democratic system. It also cost huge amounts of money to conduct as well killing of innocent individuals may happen. The US government should review the statute and abolish death penalty as a form of punishment.




American Civil Liberties Union. (2021, April 1). The case against the death penalty. ACLU. https://www.aclu.org/other/case-against-death-penalty.

California Innocent Project. (2021). Death Penalty Issues.  https://californiainnocenceproject.org/issues-we-face/death-penalty/.

Coleman J. E. (2018). One way or another the death penalty will be abolished, but only after the public no longer has confidence in its use. Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy, 13(2), 15-24. https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1142&context=djclpp.

Stevenson, A. B. & Stinneford, F. J. (2021). The Eighth Amendment. Interactive Constitution. https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/amendmentviii/clauses/103#:~:text=The%20Eighth%20Amendment%20to%20the,as%20the%20price%20for%20obtaining.


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