by Mali Bedolla
In America they have used the death penalty for intense crimes made by Anyone. Over the years they have improved the ways of executing criminals. From hanging which was used as the first way to execute people to the newest version, Lethal injection. But with every strategy there are flaws and that’s my main point of this article. A man named Clayton Lockett, who had died of a heart attack 40 minutes after he was supposed to be executed. Clayton was injected with an experimental cocktail drug which resulted in shaking and twisting in pain. A painful execution is against our constitution. The 8th amendment states unusual punishments or cruelty like torture is forbidden. Clayton’s death was very unusual which violates our constitutional laws.
How do we justify killing a murder? Killing is wrong and it’s illegal, so why do we use it as a sentence for criminals that also kill people. That’s just a whole lot of dying. More so it’s expensive to carry out the death sentence on people vs life in prison. The death penalty usually cost around $395,762 per case. In cases where the death penalty was not used was $64,711. Even time spent on the death penalty cases are longer to 40 days rather than non-death cases took 16. Housing prisoners on death row ($49,380 per year) cost 2 times more than general population($24,690 per year). That’s so much money that could be better spent on than rather killing criminals, to boost our security and other things.
“In 82% of the studies [reviewed], race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e., those who murdered whites were found more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks.”(United States General Accounting Office, Death Penalty Sentencing, February 1990 )
More and more studies have been coming back with African Americans as murders of white victims, are more likely be put on death row than caucasian killers of black victims. Do we have a racist system? I’m thinking so not just for death row but African Americans are prosecuted more for other crimes rather than white citizens. It’s rare that women get the death sentence. Women who are executed or on death row is about 3%. Since 1973, 178 females were given the death penalty. 22 juveniles have been executed since 1976 until it was considered cruel and unusual ( 8th amendment) on March 5, 2005.
Innocence. We know people have been executed and later found not guilty. How do we make up for that? How do we take it back? We do not. Families have to live with their relatives dying and being innocent of a crime they didn’t commit. How about the citizens who are sentenced to life and spend a good few years in prison? What do we do after they’re proven innocent and released? It’s becoming more common that the Government pays them. Having the person sue for however much amount, do we do that? Is that enough to take away years of someone’s life? Is that compensation enough? If we do pay, how much do we give? Too many people have been found innocent after being found guilty or even being killed, that’s too much money spent. We just can’t afford those kind of mistakes all the time.
Botched executions are very shameful and horrific in some circumstances especially when it comes to the Lethal Injection process as some death row inmates struggle and die inhumanely. With using lethal injection, many death row criminals have different experiences which makes the process more sketchy. There were many complications with electrocution, the technology was impaired or the guards (executioners) were not adequate. A number of things have gone wrong with botched executions, it is deemed unconstitutional by the 8th amendment for having anyone die suffering.
What message are we sending to children or anyone really? We are smart. Telling our kids it’s not okay to hurt one another but it’s okay to abuse that rule if your the one who makes that rule. Your exempt when someone you sentence to death for murder. The death penalty is there to execute criminals that go beyond petty theft but killing other citizens. How do we find this punishment appropriate for murder? With this as apart of our system, we send mixed signals because it’s hypocritical. It’s okay for us to deal out punishment that we see fit. With our religious leaders there is that it’s wrong to kill and that it’s okay to kill as long as it’s quick and painless. It’s illegal to kill anyone, that’s the law. Why then do we use that as a punishment? Why do we decide who lives and dies?