Capital Punishment


I wrote about this on my old blog a lot because I was working on capital punishment as a project for an Ethics class.  For some reason today this topic popped into my head again and I wanted to address it.

I did extensive research into this topic last semester for class and I learned a lot of interesting statistics in regards to Capital Punishment.  Here are some of the things I recall off of the top of my head without having to go look at my old blog:

1. The U.S. is one of the few countries who still have a capital punishment justice system.  Some of the others are China, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq.  Generally, foreign countries who have abolished this system of punishment consider Americans barbaric and cruel.

2. It is statistically proven that a woman can commit the exact same crime as a man and become imprisoned for the same crime, however the man is more likely to receive a death penalty ruling than a woman.

3. Minorities in the U.S. are given death row sentences more often than Caucasian people even when similar crimes are committed.

4. People who are poor are given the death penalty more often than any other group of people regardless of race.

5. Regardless of the crime, if you plead guilty to the crime, you are more likely to receive life without parole rather than the death penalty in order to save the state money.

6. It costs LESS money to keep someone alive and in the prison system than it does to execute them.


My thoughts on this in the order listed above:

I could honestly care less what other countries think about how we deal with criminals.  In fact it makes me want to scream at people, especially people from countries whose civil rights have been so stripped from them that they can barely walk down the street without committing a crime, when they have the nerve to tell us capital punishment is wrong.  On the flip side of that coin, I do not like being in the same category of countries as Iran, Iraq, and Libya given that those countries and areas are known for constantly being in a state of war and strife.

As far as points 2-4, I am truly saddened and sickened by the hypocrisy and lack of standardization in our criminal justice system.  I studied Arkansas in particular for this case, and there were women who are in prison for more violent crimes, or multiple violent crimes and not a single one was on death row.  Not one.  However, at the time of my research there were 28 or so men.  Does that seem right to you?  There was a particular women who had 3 counts of capital murder and who was in prison for life without parole.  There were many men who were on death row for one count of capital murder.

There were more African American men on death row in this state than any other race.  However, Caucasian men came in second, and those of Latin decent were last, I don’t even think they made up 1% of the population on death row.  The overall standard for all of these people across the country is poverty.  Death row inmates are more likely to be people from poverty.

We could look at this in a number of different ways.  Perhaps they commit crimes to try and live given their economic status.  Perhaps they were assigned some pea-brained half wit public defender right out of law school.  Perhaps they were raised in violence and committing violent acts is common place in their lives or environment.  Regardless, the poor in our country are sitting on death row, while people with money have been convicted of violent crimes and are now walking around free after serving minimal sentences. There is something seriously wrong with that.

#5- If you plead guilty to a crime you can usually cut a deal and get life without parole.  I thought our legal system used the law “Innocent until PROVEN guilty”.  I thought we had a right to a fair and speedy trial.  I did not think that at the prospect of saving money the state would bully someone into a confession by promising them their life, instead of threatening to take it away if the person goes to trial to defend himself which is HIS LEGAL RIGHT.  People have been proven innocent after spending the majority of their lives in jail.  Why would the legal system try to force someone to confess?

#6- It does actually cost less money to keep someone in the prison system alive rather than going through appeal after appeal after appeal to fight the death penalty.  I don’t remember the numbers off of the top of my head at the moment, but there was a HUGE monetary savings by NOT putting a person on death row and just keeping them in the prison system.


What this means to me overall is that if the U.S. is going to continue with a Capital Punishment system it needs a serious revamp.  Someone who is poor should not go to death row just for being poor, and a rich person should not walk away just because he has a better lawyer or the funds to stall for time.  If a women can murder just as easily as a man, the woman should be subjected to the exact same punishment as a man, and lastly if a white person commits the same crime as any other race, the punishment should fit and a minority should not be punished in a harsher manner than a white person.

We should not be persuaded to give up our innocence (OK, I will even bend and say potential innocence) in order to keep our lives.  Telling a person they will get the death penalty if they don’t confess is nothing other than coercion.  I personally feel like if there is not DNA evidence that PROVES without a DOUBT that the person committed the crime, then the death penalty should not even be an option.

We need a suspension of this practice until our criminal justice system gets a serious overhaul.

Author: Jill Stewart

I am a 37 -year-old woman from Arkansas who is happily married to a Scottish immigrant aka “the hubby” “the hubs” or if I am calling him directly “YO YOU!” We’ve been married for 3 years and it’s been a crazy ride, and unfortunately our finances have been beat to death in the last few years. We have two dogs and a cat, no kids. The Blog- What’ll you find: Financial Information as we try to become debt free My attempts at working and trying to maintain a home to the standards I like My adventures in learning how to sew Arts and craft projects Funny tidbits from my life including living with a Scottish person, the dogs, and other oddball things that happen to me. What you won’t find: Much on children. I don’t have kids and I can’t have kids. Recipes- I don’t mind cooking, but unless it’s something really special, don’t come here looking for the weekly recipe! You won’t find it- unless you ask my husband. If you’re interested in what you see, please follow me on Facebook or sign up for emails! Most of all, leave a comment or ask a question! I am always happy to hear from you!

8 thoughts on “Capital Punishment

  1. On this topic, the book Living Justice goes into this and it’s very interesting. I think you’d like it. If I can find out the authors’ names I’ll let you know.

  2. This is going to sound horrible, but I believe in an eye for an eye instead of this so called “Death penalty” this country uses.  I think if someone murders someone else then they should be killed in the exact same way.  If a man rapes a child, his manhood should be cut off.  I have just always felt this way.  A person should be held responsible for their actions.

  3. My big concern with the death penalty is those who have turned out to be innocent after years in prison.  Hell my concern with the entire justice system in general is around people who have spent time for a crime they didn’t commit.  I agree with you about how unfair the double standards are.  What were you studying in school?

  4. 5 years ago I had no qualms about the death penalty, however, with the Innocence Project having earned the release of so many people my attitude has changed. I want irrefutable proof of their guilt before putting a needle in their arm. Not circumstantial evidence, not eye witness testimony, hard proof (I still don’t think there was enough evidence to convict Scot Petersen, but he was convicted because he was a bastard).However, I have to argue several points. First, the death row population will by nature be, for the most part, of lower social/economic class. Pull back and look at the entire prison population. It is primarily poor also. Unfortunately, the poor or more likely to commit crime, at least the kind of crime that lands you in prison.Second, plea bargaining is a valid technique. It does not just save the state money, it also clears the court docket. Your comment that those that plead guilty rarely get the death penalty is faulty in that very few people are going to plead guilty knowing that they can be executed. They want that guarantee in place before they admit to their crimes.Lastly, and you didn’t bring it up, they need to stop saying that the death penalty is a deterrent and finally admit that it is revenge/extermination of useless members of society.Personally, as a father of three, I would like to see anyone convicted of child molestation executed. And I am talking no question of guilt. No, no appeals. You raped a child and video taped it so you could share it with your sick friends? Come in this back room, someone wants to meet you. I guarantee in 15 minutes he would tell you everyone he sent that video too and would never be a threat to anyone again… Sorry

  5. I think the only people who should get the death penalty are serial “anything”… serial rapists, serial killers, serial child molesters. Any brutal criminal who is obviously mentally disturbed enough to hurt people over and over and over again is never going to be safe to release. Better they should die, quickly, than cost more tax payer money to keep them alive for the duration of their lives or cost them any suffering from a life in prison. I don’t think imprisonment is any more humane than death. No one likes being put in a cage, especially forever. I think imprisonment is okay for most normal criminals, but criminals who do horrible, insane, barbaric things, repeatedly, should just be put out of everyone’s misery. And even if they’re not executed, sometimes the other criminals will do it for us… I believe it was Jeffrey Dahmer who was killed in prison by the other prisoners.

  6. The real question you have to ask yourself in regards to support of the death penalty is. How many innocent people are you willing to execute to get one guilty person. Justice always has and always will be an imperfect system.

  7. @bosefius – I agree with you on most of these points except a few.The plea bargaining part.  If a prosecutor comes to you and says “we know you did this.  Admit it and you will get life in prison.  Make us go to trial and we will go for the death penalty” IS a faulty way to run the justic system in my opinion.I am not too sure only the poor are always the people in prison.  What about white collar crime etc.?  There are more poor people on Death Row.  Like I also said, there could be tons of reasons for it other than the legal system, but it is something that makes a person raise an eyebrow.@harmony0stars – than cost more tax payer money to keep them alive for the duration of their lives -This is something I cleared up in the post above.  It DOES NOT cost more money to keep them alive than it does to execute them.

  8. @digood1974 – That is just my point.  I am not willing to sit om a jury and give someone the death penalty without absolute proof that the person committed the crime.

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