By: Jenny Eastland

Since 1976, there have been 1,429 executions in the United States. Since  2015, 156 people have been exonerated and freed from death row after spending anywhere from two to 27 years in jail waiting for their execution. Each individual case costs the United States government around $2 million for the entire process.

Without DNA evidence, how do we know for sure that we aren’t sentencing an innocent individual to death? We really can’t be sure at all. There are many factors in a trial that could go wrong, and there have been plenty of cases where the accused has been framed. It cannot be morally right to sentence a person to death when we aren’t 100% sure that they are guilty. Giving the government the power to kill an innocent person, or even a guilty one at that, is terrifying. For all you know, it could be you, an innocent civilian in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The death penalty is murder and using it to deter crime is contradictory and far too expensive. Sentencing a criminal to life in jail is far less expensive. We could use that money for more productive, beneficial things such as supporting victims and their families, or programs that deter the youth from committing crimes while still punishing the criminal by forcing them to live with what they’ve done.

The death penalty should be abolished. Not because rapists and murderers don’t deserve to die, nor because they have anything beneficial to give to the world, but because we can never be sure that we are not putting an innocent person to death, and because we could put our money towards better things. The death penalty is a waste of everyone’s time and resources. Support a better alternative.