Opinion 2

Laura Figi, Web Editor-in-Chief

Capital punishment or “the death penalty,” and by any other name commonly used, is fairly uncommon (though not unheard of) in modern America. The eighth Amendment, which protects U.S. citizens from cruel and unusual punishment, was ratified in December 1791. Despite this, capital punishment is protected in the constitution, because it was not ruled cruel or unusual, and left as a state’s right on decision to enact.
Capital punishment was ruled constitutional and should continue to be used for safety and authoritative reasons.
Execution makes a very serious statement on the law; some degrees of crime are not tolerated and quickly put to a halt. Because of the severity of the statement, death sentences are not doled out on the regular, and acquiring one takes a very serious form of crime usually equating to mass-murder, genocide or torture. People that are executed pose a very caustic threat to society and shouldn’t be dealt with lightly.
The alternative to punishment by death is life imprisonment, which could even be viewed as more awful. Life sentences are very restrictive and don’t allow for much movement or quality of life on the prisoner’s part. Spending life surrounded by other criminals, if not isolation, and in sub-par living conditions could arguably be worse than being put to death because of the repetition that ensues and can drive people insane. But a lot of the time inmates are given final decisions on their final moments, how they go out and what their final meal is, providing for as humane of an experience as possible.
Finally, life sentences are a drain on tax money and resources. Now statistically, the cost per execution could range anywhere from $1.1-3 million, but taking into account the money alone (about $1.26-1.5 million) on life sentences plus resources used, the monetary cost can amount to much higher, even without mention of toll on physique and psyche.
The death penalty is a statement that saves money and serves as the climax of punishment –something insurmountable and striking. Clearly there is no definite right or wrong answer on the situation, and question of morals could circle either way. Furthermore, questions concerning reform are endless and face similar problems in morality. The most probable compromise would be give death row inmates a choice on their fate.
The death penalty is ultimately a state’s right, and a right that the punitive system is given the ability to enforce. Any sort of reformative system has flaws, but removing capital punishment could mean loss of a serious asset.