Capital Punishment Essay Help?

Question by Nicole: Capital Punishment Essay Help?
Hi! I am writing a (against) capital punishment essay/speech and I would like to have some feedback. Tell me what you think!

The Deadly Truth

In America we pride ourselves on our sense of freedom and equality that is in the air but there is one thing that still plagues our society; capital punishment. Repealing the death penalty would benefit our economy, it hasn’t been proven to be an effective way to keep criminals off the streets and even convicted felons deserve a second chance.

An important issue in this debate is whether capital punishment deters murders. Psychologists and criminologists who examined the issue initially reported no deterrent effect (Eysenck, 1977). Capital punishment has never been shown to be a deterrent to crime. In fact, it appears to have the opposite effect. Death penalty states have consistently higher murder rates than non-death penalty states.
Nobody knows exactly why this is, but there are many theories. Some studies have proposed a “brutalizing effect,” wherein people (consciously or not) follow the government’s lead in assuming that killing someone is indeed a valid solution to a problem. In one high-profile case, we know that Ted Bundy craved the publicity of a capital trial, so he chose Florida – the most active execution state at the time – to carry out his final murder spree. The higher murder rates are probably due, at least in part, to the high cost of capital punishment.
Because of the extensive legal apparatus designed to minimize wrongful executions, it costs taxpayers much more to execute someone than to imprison them for life. Therefore, every extra dollar spent on capital punishment is one that is NOT going to police departments, drug treatment programs, education, and other government services that help prevent crime.

Study after study has found that the capital punishment process is much more expensive than life in prison. In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $ 2.3 million, compared to $ 1.26 million national average (Rooney, Anne). That is about 3 times the cost of imprisoning someone for 40 years. While a non-death penalty case was found to have a median cost of only 740,000 dollars (Rooney, Anne).
The death penalty is extremely expensive mostly because of the upfront costs of the legal process which is supposed to prevent executions of innocent people. For the death penalty cases, the pre-trial and trial level expenses were the most expensive part, 49% of the total cost (Friedman, Lauri). Since stakes are high, the process is far more complex than for any other kind of criminal case. The tremendous expenses in a capital punishment case apply whether or not the defendant is convicted, let alone sentenced to death.

Religion also ties in with the death penalty. Christian doctrine does not support the death penalty. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Repay no one evil for evil… do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath.” -Rom. 12:14-19.
As Christians we are asked to visit the imprisoned, minister to their needs, and encourage them to repent and change (Ed. Jenny Cromie). That process of reform takes a long time, and the death penalty takes that opportunity for change away. Although not everyone may be Christians, we are still encouraged to give people a second chance and be merciful. One reason for giving a person a second chance is that some people can change and become a better person if they are provided with the opportunity. Wouldn’t you want a second chance if you knew that you had the opportunity to do well and change?

( Short Story for the end of my speech):

“One noteworthy example of a delayed conversion began with a rapist’s brutal attack on an eleven-year-old girl. When she resisted him, the twenty-year-old assailant stabbed her fourteen times and left her to die. Had he not been a minor himself, he would have received the death penalty for his heinous crime. Instead, his sentence was 30 years’ imprisonment. During his first three years behind bars, the murderer remained unrepentant and even hostile to a visiting priest. But after a visit from the local bishop and a dream in which his victim forgave him, he repented and resolved to lead an exemplary life. After serving his full sentence, he sought the forgiveness of his victim’s family and the parish community. By now you may have guessed that his victim was St. Maria Goretti, and his name was Alessandro Serenelli. He later had the unique honor of attending the canonization of the child saint whom he had martyred. Had Alessandro been executed, the story would have had a tragically different ending” (Rogers, Art).

Best answer:

Answer by Susan S
Its very good. You might want to include something about families of murder victims:

Like no other punishment, the death penalty subjects families of murder victims to a process which makes healing even harder. Even families who have supported it in principle have testified to the protracted and unavoidable damage that the death penalty process does to families like theirs and that life without parole is an appropriate alternative.

Here’s what a victims advocate (herself a member of a family where someone was murdered):
“Make no mistake – I am a conservative, a victims’ advocate and a death penalty supporter. But my real life experience has taught me that as long as the death penalty is on the books in any form, it will continue to harm survivors. For that reason alone, it must be ended.

I’ve spent the last two decades of my life fighting for the rights of crime victims. It’s a mission I began after a terrible murder in my own family. The death penalty is no abstract concept to me – I’ve had to confront it every day since 1984, in my work with countless families that have been impacted by the sudden trauma of homicide.

I don’t have any compassion for murderers and believe they deserve harsh and certain punishment. In real life, the death penalty doesn’t work that way. The courts scrutinize death penalty cases more than any other. I understand why they do that – once an execution happens it can’t be reversed, and we already know the system has made mistakes. Truly, not just technically, innocent people have been exonerated after spending years on death row.

But the result of that extra care is a process that takes years, and in many cases, decades. The criminal justice system is hard enough on survivors. When the death penalty is added to the process, the survivor’s connection to the system becomes a long-term and often multidecade nightmare that almost never ends in the promised result.

The details of the crime are replayed over and over in the press with each appeal. The defendant is turned into a celebrity.

Even in those states that do carry out executions, most cases are reversed at some point. I’ve known people in New Jersey whose entire childhoods were lost waiting for an execution that never came. They endured multiple trials, as well as the additional trauma each one created in their fractured lives, leaving them feeling revictimized by the very system they once trusted to give them some sense of justice. Meanwhile, families with differing opinions on the death penalty are divided at the moment they need each other most.

Added to this traumatizing process is the sad reality that the true needs of homicide survivors are often forgotten and ignored. While well-intentioned people defend capital punishment “for the victims,” surviving family members are left to grieve in silence, without access to ongoing services, peer support, or affordable, specialized counseling.

I now believe that the death penalty must be ended and replaced with life without parole, a harsh punishment that provides victims with the swiftness and certainty they need at a fraction of the cost in terms of dollars and human suffering by homicide survivors.”

Kathleen M. Garcia is a victims’ advocate, an expert in traumatic grief and served on the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission.
Link available at

What do you think? Answer below!



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