Archive for July 3rd, 2018

July 3, 2018

Eye for an Eye

Criminals that commit crimes are taken into court where they face trial of either innocence or guilt. What about those criminals that are held in maximum lockdown? Death penalty is usually sentenced to prisoners that are either found guilty of murder, treason, espionage, or genocide. There’s lots of controversy that death penalty also known as capital punishment, either brings justice or is considered inhumane. Currently in the U.S, 31 states allow the death penalty and 19 states banned the death penalty. Prisons currently uses lethal injection, gas chambers, electrocution, firing squad, and hanging to execute. As you read through this essay, I will address both the pros and cons of capital punishment in the U.S.

“Proponents of the death penalty say it is an important tool for preserving law and order, deters crime, and costs less than life imprisonment. They argue that retribution or “an eye for an eye” honors the victim, helps console grieving families, and ensures that the perpetrators of heinous crimes never have an opportunity to cause future tragedy”. My readers, put yourself in the victim’s shoes; if someone were to murder a loved one, would capital punishment bring peace to your loss? It’s second nature on getting revenge is a way to “make it even”. But will that take away the pain? You have to consider many people believe in “if you take a life, we take yours”. Capital punishment appeases the victim’s families, as retribution is not the same as revenge. “Retribution is a necessary part of the punishment process— without it, the friends and family of the victims as well as the public in general would not feel that justice had been served. The death penalty can provide families of victims with some closure, in aide for mourning families.

“Opponents of capital punishment say it has no deterrent effect on crime, wrongly gives governments the power to take human life, and perpetuates social injustices by disproportionately targeting people of color (racist) and people who cannot afford good attorneys (classist). They say lifetime jail sentences are a more severe and less expensive punishment than death”. A lot of opponents say it’s a violation of our human rights, however, when a criminal commits a crime, their rights are basically taken away from if found guilty upon the court of law. Unlike prison sentences, the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable. Executing an inmate for capital punishment prevents their chance of changing their lives and becoming a better person. Just like suicide, once death penalty happens, there’s no turning back; it’s a one-time thing. For those who oppose capital punishment, for moral and religious reasons such as “it’s wrong to take a life”, see it as we (the people) are just as bad as the criminal to take away a life. Like where do we draw the line? The murderer takes a life, so to get back we take his/her life. Activists debate that it’s a never-ending circle, taking a life because someone else took a life.  there’s lots of blood shed making us (the people) just as bad as the criminal.

I believe that mental health could have a part with extreme crimes too. Although they’re consciously aware of their actions, maybe criminals receive some kind of adrenaline or “high” from their crimes? I mean there has to be some sort of reason for them to be repeat offenders. From a normal person standpoint, we would find their crimes sick and cruel, however, they could possibly find it fun or amusing. These criminals that have no control, specifically need to be put into a mental hospital and have themselves evaluated, as opposed than just receiving capital punishment.

It seems like common sense that it’s cheaper to execute someone than to house, feed, and take care of them for the rest of their life. But there are a lot of unavoidable costs that make a death sentence far more expensive than a sentence of life without parole. Most of these costs result from the unique status of the death penalty within the US justice system. Because it’s the only truly irreversible form of punishment, the Constitution requires a long and complex judicial process for capital cases, including several levels of mandatory review after a death sentence is issued. Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population. There are 714 inmates on California’s death row. The costs for a non-death penalty murder case is $1.1 million ($870,000 in imprisonment, $250,000 in trial), while the costs for a death penalty case are $3 million ($1.3 million in imprisonment, $1.7 million in trial). The appeals process takes decades to complete. Studies of the California death penalty system, the largest in the US, have revealed that a death sentence costs at least 18 times as much as a sentence of life without parole would cost. A total estimated death penalty costs $1,028,700 for court, $606,928, and $97,815 for execution; which totals $1,733,443. On the other hand, a life sentence costs $467,000 for trial attorneys, $70,000 for court costs, $100,800 for appeals, $152,90 for petition, and habeas corpus petition $238,000; which totals $1,028,700. This is a $704,743 difference that life sentence is cheaper than capital punishment. The trials, court durations, and attorneys all contribute to a long process to ensure they have the correct criminal that is pleaded guilty.

On a side note, since I currently live in Hawaii, I’m going to discuss about the judiciary system in Honolulu, Hawaii. Currently, Hawaii does not have the capital punishment law. KHON2 got a rare look inside the medium security prison on Thursday, which houses inmates serving sentences longer than a year. The prison has 1,124 beds and officials say every one of them is filled. To help with the overflow, the Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona houses around 1,500 inmates from Hawaii. If capital punishment was legal in Hawaii, do you think crimes in Hawaii would decrease since people would be more aware that their lives would be at stake? According to the State of Hawaii, the penalties for first degree of murder is a felony offense that can be punished by life in prison. In some states, first—degree murder is punishable by death; however, Hawaii has abolished the death penalty. There was a local story that occurred in Haleiwa last year where two suspects beat and killed a mother to death. They tied the mother’s daughter to a chair and let her watch her mom get beaten. How sad and sick is that? Both suspects were charged with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, and kidnapping. What if this happened to your mom? Or your daughter? Revenge and justice is the first thing that comes to mind. Surprisingly, the husband/father, stated he forgave them and stated it was the act of the devil which made them sin.

Personally, I am a firm believer of capital punishment because the recurrent criminals that take advantage and challenge the law, deserves to be in hell. It’s taunting for a victim’s family knowing that a prisoner has a free cell, free meals, and clothes for life. Metaphorically speaking, in my opinion getting sent to prison for life, is like getting a hotel room with room service. Where’s the justice and punishment in that? We see a lot of prisoners in documentary videos playing cards, lifting weights, getting tattoos, and etc. If I were to put myself in a family’s position that loss their loved one from murder, I would hate to see that prisoner having fun in jail for something he or she did that was unforgivable. I would rather see their life end immediately because they don’t deserve to live not having any remorse for their action(s).

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