A Short Essay for CJ 200 on The Death Penalty
This is a tough question for me and I am not completely convinced either way on the death penalty issue. I had this same discussion question in another Criminal Justice class this week. Although I do not want to plagiarism myself, I do want to bring one aspect of my other discussion to this board. I normally look to the bible for the big questions in life but on this subject the bible confuses me even more.
Gen 9:6 whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.
Genesis 9:6 is clear that some crimes require blood. But after the first murder, God punished Cain severely but did not kill him. Cain was a farmer and this curse was likely the worst thing he could endure short of death.
Genesis 4: And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
10: And he [God] said, what hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11: And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 12: When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
Jesus himself, when confronted by accusers with a woman that under the law should have been killed, refused to answer this question directly.
John 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
I support the death penalty because it stops a murderer from ever killing again. I see flaws in the argument for life imprisonment in lieu of the death penalty. Hundreds of other inmates have been murdered in prison by people serving life terms with absolutely nothing to lose. Correctional officers have been attacked and killed by inmates serving life without parole sentences. Sentences of life protect the free citizens but protect no one involved in the correctional system. Life sentences put them in more danger.
My second question would be is it ethical to continue raising taxes and borrowing money in the non-criminal citizens name to continue to build more and bigger prisons? I believe we are taxed way too much already to still provide for our families adequately.
For these reasons I land on the pro-death penalty side of the argument, and I believe it should be carried out swiftly with minimal appeals. It makes no sense to sentence someone to death and then have them serve a life sentence due to the lengthy appeals process. I believe the death penalty, as well as doing away with prison sentences for non-violent drug users, could save the country billions over the long term.
My response to the race issue
In any discussion of the race of death row inmates one must include the crime rate differences between the black and white races. On reading the data and comparing the races it would seem that blacks are disproportionately sentenced to death. But other data clearly shows that the black murder rate is nearly seven times higher than the white murder rate.
According to a report from the Violence Policy Center, the homicide rate for Blacks in America stands at 20.86 persons per 100,000 – nearly seven times the rate for whites which stands at 3.11 per 100,000 persons.
This data can clearly explain why the rate of blacks being on death row seems abnormally high compared to whites without injecting racism in to the equation.
The FBI’s Violence Policy Center stopped compiling and reporting this data in 2007. In my opinion they have stopped reporting the differences in white crime and black crime due to the political correctness many seemed to be obsessed with.