As inhumane and morbid as it may sound, the death penalty is something that should remain in the United States. There are some crimes that are, frankly, so terrible that there is no other suitable form of punishment.
Aside from my own moral beliefs on the death penalty, it is not fair that taxpayers should have to pay for a murderer to live the rest of their life out in prison. A 2016 report by the Federal Register shows that the average cost of incarceration per inmate is more than $30,000 a year. There is no argument to be made that this money could not go to something that improves our society, such as education and health care, instead of prolonging the lives of those who have decided their own fate.
An argument can be made that death row inmates cost more taxpayer money during their time on death row, considering that criminal cases involving the death penalty cost taxpayers about $90,000 more per year than the average prison inmate, according to deathpenaltyinfo.org. This cost could be balanced out, or at least lessened, by limiting the amount of time inmates spend on death row. In some cases, death row inmates can spend decades in prison before they are finally put to death.
While this does serve to ensure that the chances of executing an innocent person are minimized, there is no reason this process needs to be drawn out over a period of decades. There should be a span of three years after the initial sentencing during which the inmate on death row has to appeal the death penalty, with either one or two appeals in a front of jury or a court with several judges each year, which will give the inmate more than enough time to come to terms with their fate. If each appeal is a unanimous decision then the execution would follow.
Another solution to help lower the amount of taxpayer money being devoted to death row inmates would be to integrate them with the rest of the high-security prison population. One of the largest expenses in regards to death row inmates is the fact that they are kept in separate facilities which require additional upkeep and security, according to criminaljusticedegreehub.com. They should be subject to the same rules as other inmates, and if they became too dangerous, they could be placed in solitary confinement.
I have heard opponents of the death penalty argue that, rather than being sentenced to death, it would be better to put those guilty of murder into solitary confinement. While the death penalty may be cruel and barbaric in some ways, it is much less cruel than putting someone into solitary confinement. Although death isn’t nice, I would prefer it over spending the rest of my life in solitary confinement, if I ever were to be put in that situation.
Many will argue that the death penalty is not a deterrent for crime, and I actually agree. Many of the infamous school shootings in recent years have ended with the shooter committing suicide. The people who commit these acts often do not expect to live or already have it planned to take their own life.
The death penalty, however, is not a social experiment to see whether it will stop people from committing crime. It needs to be reserved for those who choose to commit crimes against humanity as a form of punishment, not a deterrent for future crimes.
Although I am in favor of the death penalty, I do not think it should not be decision taken lightly or thrown around liberally. It needs to be reserved for those who have, undeniably, committed acts that break all moral codes. There needs to be absolutely no doubt in the mind of the jury or judge that the convicted person has committed the crime they have been accused of before being sentenced to death.
With that being said, for those who are willing to commit such atrocities, I would almost consider them to not be human. They could have robbed parents of their children, children of their parents and even robbed society of someone who could have gone on to do great things for the world. As far as I’m concerned, the death penalty is not about revenge or closure for the family, it’s about taking out the trash in our society; the people, who out of their own selfishness and malice, have cut short the life of another individual and scarred that person’s family and friends for life.