Should the US continue using the death penalty?

Screen shot from CNN's YouTube video: Inmate faces execution despite new DNA evidence

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Another topic of debate in this country is the ethicality of the death penalty. Currently, according to deathpenaltyinfo.org, there are 31 states that have the death penalty, 19 states that don’t, and four more with a governor’s moratorium on its use. With the death penalty taking place in so many sates, it raises a moral question of whether we should even have the death penalty as an option.

Those who support the death penalty argue that it is the ultimate deterrent to crime. If someone knows that they could be put to death for committing a certain crime, then they will be less likely to attempt it. Of course, there are those who believe that certain crimes are so horrible that if one commits them, they should be put to death. Also, if the person who committed the crime is put to death, it offers the victim or the victim’s family a sense of justice, and perhaps gives them some comfort or closure. In this respect, the death penalty is a good thing. Finally, some believe that a person who has committed a crime so awful as to warrant the death penalty should not be housed, clothed, and fed until they die of natural causes all at the taxpayers’ expense.

People who are against the death penalty will point to just how flawed the criminal justice system is. Seemingly every year you hear of convictions being overturned, because the person convicted was actually innocent the whole time. Death penalty opponents feel that it doesn’t really deter crime, because we have the death penalty in the majority of states and people still commit crimes such as murder. Also, the people against the death penalty feel that the government putting someone to death is morally wrong. Finally, they don’t believe the death penalty makes the victim(s) or their families feel better, because even though the perpetrator may be dead, the trauma of the crime is still there.

The death penalty is the ultimate form of punishment in this country. Whether it is wrong or right it is definitely final.

In this clip, CNN covers the case of Marcellus Williams which took place in Missouri back in March:

The Issue

Should the United States have the death penalty? Does the death penalty deter people from committing the worst crimes, or is it just morally wrong for the state to put someone to death regardless of their actions?

In support of the death penalty

People in support of the death penalty say that there are crimes so horrific that there can be no other punishment but death. They also feel that, in many cases, the only way to give the survivors of that crime some closure is the death of the one who committed it.

In opposition to the death penalty

Those against the death penalty see it as morally wrong. They feel that the system is broken and the government might put an innocent person to death for a crime they did not commit.

So, do you think the United States should continue to utilize the death penalty?

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