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Nichole Day
Professor Julia Ellis
Criminal Justice 1010
October 4, 2016
The Controversy of the Death Penalty
One of the controversies in the United States is the death penalty. With all my research
and looking at the data presented I feel that it is not only ineffective, but it is something deeply
wrong that needs to be addressed in our country.
The death penalty is also called capital punishment and is most often associated with a
person charged with murder, but different states have their own rules as to what constitutes the
death penalty. Some of these things include treason, kidnapping, train wrecking, and murder
committed during the course of rape. Thirty states out of fifty in the US have the death penalty.
Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Oregon have whats called Gubernatorial Moratorium
which is the suspension of the death penalty until such a time that it is warranted.
According to, 2,905 inmates are sitting on death row waiting to be
executed. It is extremely costly to try a death penalty case and according to Amnesty
International, a Maryland case costs an estimate of around 3 million dollars.
Up until 1913 all executions were done by hanging. Now the most common form of
execution is lethal injection but every state chooses their own form of it. These also include gas
chambers, death by firing squad, and electrocution.

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The problem I find with these forms of execution is that they do not always work as well
as they should and instead of a quick and painless death as the devices used are supposed to give,
a person can be left suffering until they finally die. Such as the case of Joseph R. Wood. Joseph
R. Wood was executed in 2014 in the state of Arizona by lethal injection and it took him a total
of one hour and forty minutes to die. All the while he was gasping as the executioners kept
injecting more and more chemicals into his blood stream until he finally was pronounced dead.
This is what can be called a botched execution, or in another description an execution where the
inmate suffered before his death.
The pros I found for the death penalty with the research I did were typically asking for
justice for the death of their loved one which is a very common reason. Many people also believe
the death penalty deters certain crimes.
In my research though I found on, 88% of top criminologists
interviewed believe that the death penalty is not a deterrent to killing. 87% percent also believe
that even if the death penalty were to be taken away, it wouldnt change murder rate significantly
enough to worry about.
While I agree that a loved one who was murdered should have justice for their life being
taken away I do not believe in taking another life to make it justified because it will not bring
that person back to them. I think that person who hurt them should be locked away and that
murdering someone for a crime is still murder legalized or not, and those people have their own
loved ones.
This brings my next research I did for the death penalty, which is executing an innocent
person. According to Amnesty International, 151 people since 1973 have been exonerated or

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deemed innocent. That is 151 people who did not commit the crime and could have been
executed by mistake. To me that is not justifiable. Since the discovery of DNA in the 1990s and
as of 2011 according to American Civil Liberties Union, 273 people have been released and 20
of them were on death row. The thought of even one person dying for someone elses crimes is
deplorable and wrong.
While I was first researching this topic, I was on the fence about death penalty. With the
more questions I asked myself, the more my views started to go towards being against it. I kept
searching for answers to corroborate and hold up that facts of pro death. I mainly found websites
for people who have been murdered asking for justice to keep the death penalty. I also found
other pro death sites but they were merely nothing more than an opinion column and there was
nothing I could find to back up these facts. I feel that pros for the death penalty need to be
researched and studied more and I felt I was asking all the right questions to research it fully.
The research I have done on the death penalty I made sure I found from viable sources
that can be corroborated and were from trustworthy sites. I believe all these facts are based on
real evidence and on a scale outweigh the benefits of the death penalty.
In conclusion with all of the evidence gathered I think that the death penalty needs to be
taken out of our justice system. I do not think capital punishment is justifiable and that life in jail
without the possibility of parole is a punishment enough. Not only will the death penalty not
deter crimes taking it away will not change the murder rates. An execution can be torturous and
gruesome leading to the suffering of human life. I also think it should be taken away to save the
innocent lives that though convicted by a jury, did not actually commit the crimes they were
accused of and if kept in jail can be set free and cleared.

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Works Cited
"Crimes Punishable by the Death Penalty." DPIC. N.p., 2016. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.
"Death Penalty and Innocence." Amnesty International USA. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct.
"Death Penalty Cost." Amnesty International USA. N.p., 2016. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.
"DNA Testing and the Death Penalty." American Civil Liberties Union. N.p., n.d. Web. 07
Oct. 2016.
"Methods of Execution." Clark County Prosecuting Attorney, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.
"Part I: History of the Death Penalty." DPIC. N.p., 2016. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.
Radelet, Michael L. "Botched Executions." DPIC. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.
Reggio, Michael H. "History of the Death Penalty." PBS. PBS, 2014. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.