Good Essay On The Death Penalty - Is The Death Penalty Economically Viable?
Nowadays the death penalty is seen as something exceptional, and as something that can be applied only by wild countries of Third World, and the United States of America, that always seem to have their own view on the issues that to other countries of the first echelon seem to be settled long ago.
But in reality a massive wave of rejection of the use of "death penalty" only occurred in the nineties of the last century. Saying more, in 1991 from the 180 countries only 60 abolished the death penalty. At the same time, the official cancellation of the legal norm and its exit from the actual practice in most states differed greatly over time, and in fact in most European countries it has been no executions carried out for more than a century. In some of them it was just a common practice in other moratoriums on the death penalty were adopted, according to which the death penalty was not excluded from the Criminal Code and other regulatory documents, but always had to be replaced by alternative forms of punishment, for example the punishment should be in the form of long-term or life imprisonment.(Bedau and Cassell 35)
It is interesting to note that often these steps were not taken under pressure from the people (it happened that the moratorium was introduced, despite the fact that the population supports saving death penalty for serious crimes), but, it seems like, the moratorium was usually applied under the influence of some inner sense of legislators. The same is often forced to clothe the concept of the death penalty in vague of verbal shell like the «capital punishment» or the «supreme measure of social protection,» as if the words "death penalty" contained something forbidden, otherworldly. For example, in the late Soviet Union it was believed that the death penalty is not practiced as a regulatory penalty, but can only be used in exceptional cases, as a punishment for especially serious crimes against the state and, in connection with which the documents it was called "exceptional punishment”. (Bedau and Cassell 38)
Now the death penalty is applied mainly in Muslim countries, the customs of which, make it possible to apply death penalty as a punishment for a number of offenses which are not deemed to those in any other country of the European world, moreover they usually use very cruel methods of its implementation, starting from cutting off a person’s head to throwing stones in a person until the death comes.
Also, the death penalty is practiced in China, where it applies not only to those who commit serious crimes or crimes against the state, but also to drug dealers, pimps, corrupt officials, forgers, poachers and those who try to hide their income from the state, wishing to avoid paying taxes. The death penalty is stored in a number of non-Muslim countries in Africa, in Bhutan, in North Korea, in Japan, and in several countries of Latin American. In most of these countries "exceptional form of punishment" can be used only in wartime or in the state of emergency. The main stronghold of the death penalty, which cannot be reached up by outraged human rights activists and fighters for human rights, are still the United States of America.(Mitchell 22)
The main forms of the death penalty are shooting and hanging a person that was sentenced to death capital. In the United States, the first place in the frequency of application stands the usage of the lethal injection, followed by implementing death penalty by the electrocution. In some states, convicted may select to be killed in the gas chamber room as the method of the execution. In some countries, as mentioned above, still applies stoning and beheading.(Horgan 11)
There are many arguments for and against implementing the death penalty, but most of them are either just too emotional, or even appear to be outside the scope of acceptable in polite discussion. On their background the so-called "economic argument for" looks very reasonable and what is more important, it is quite weighted, according to which the price of a criminal act should be done initially unacceptable. Thus, the existence of death penalty appears to be the factor that deters crime.(Henderson and Flanders 22)
In regard to the efficiency of economic aspect of death penalty their plenty of discussions. Historically, the economical aspect of death penalty always had both strong and weak sides, but comparing to modern pros and cons, the arguments have changed. Hundred years before it was more economically efficient to save life of guilty person in order to make him repay the damages that appeared to be a result of his illegal activity. Even though, nowadays the majority of people think that long-term or life imprisonment is much more expansive for the government than implementing the death penalty, they appear to be wrong. There are plenty of researches that show that capital punishment takes much bigger amount of governmental money than life imprisonment.(Melusky and Pesto 76)
However, some of the people who actually think that it takes more money for life term imprisonment rather than for execution of a guilty person. And in society we can usually here the idea that the guilty person needs to be executed, as the governmental money will be spend on keeping him alive in prison. In this case I would like to say that economic aspect should not affect the process of making the decision about person’s future, especially when we are talking about life and death. Otherwise, why not kill the unemployed and the disabled people, that are also sponsored by the society. In my opinion the moral problems should not be resolved according to any of the material considerations.(Bedau and Cassell 43)
In recent years, opponents of the death penalty were pressing on a new argument that during a budget crisis was proved to be very effective: it became too expensive to execute. Much more expensive than to keep the offender in a cell for whole life. The lion's share of the costs devour the courts, sometimes lasting even for decades. It is advantageous for the protection to delay the process for as long as possible, and also the justice is in no hurry to execute already a convicted criminal: it is necessary to make sure that they will not execute the innocent person, as it is no way back. The trial ending with the death penalty costs the US Treasury, on average, $ 1.26 million, but sometimes may be worth twice as much. For comparison: in Florida holding the offender in prison until his death stands six times less than his execution.(Alarcon & Mitchell, n.d.)
As far as our generations lives in the era of humanism, the death penalty should be implemented in humanistic way. This statement of mine, appears to be a paradox even to me. There are developed and progressive countries that appear to be among those who continue on practicing death penalty, but at the same time this countries are very concerned about implementing capital punishment in humane way, even if it takes great expanses and as a result affects the economy of the country.(Henderson and Flanders 15)
Since 1978 only in California the death penalty cost taxpayers for more than $ 4 billion.There are plenty of researches that argue that the capital punishment is very expensive in California, one of the 33 US states, which still apply this measure. The annual burden on the budget associated with the use of the death penalty is $ 184 million a year because of the exorbitant cost of justice and the slowness of the legal procedures. Publication of these figures gives additional arguments to abolitionists in favor of abolition of the death penalty.(Alarcon & Mitchell, n.d.)
The death penalty is a very expensive way in California. This conclusion was made by Arthur Alarcon, a judge known throughout United States of America, and Paula Mitchell, no less famous law professor at Loyola University. Representatives of the legal system and science was conducted in-depth study for more than 3 years. The result of the research was that from 1978 the use of the death penalty took away the significant amount of money from the state’s budget. The results of the research became a new issue for the "The Golden State’s" society, as at the end of 2010 the state had a budget deficit equal to $ 28 billion.(Alarcon & Mitchell, n.d.)
This study, shows that the death penalty, despite the fact that its application is not a deterrent and is not immune from miscarriages of justice is a very heavy burden on the financial system of the United States of America. And it is not only about local authorities, but also regional and federal levels. Costs associated with conducting investigations and trials, paid staff. The very same procedure for the application of the death penalty costs 20 times more than any other procedure related to the administration of justice. Every death sentence costs the state an average of $ 1.1 million more than the contents of a convict serving a life sentence.(Alarcon & Mitchell, n.d.)
The slowness of judicial procedures plays an important role in these costs. In California, few lawyers specializing in the protection of those sentenced to death, the procedure for filing an appeal takes an average of about 10 years before the appeal itself will be considered. And this procedure costs an average of about $ 300 thousand per convict. And when the appeal is rejected, it takes about 25 years between the verdict and its performance.
Gradually, the population of the State of California has been increasingly leaning towards abolition of the death penalty. According to a survey conducted in April 2011, 63% of Californians agree that the death penalty should be replaced by life imprisonment. So it is fair to say that California is on its way to refuse from implementing death penalties. New Jersey, New Mexico, and Illinois have already passed the laws for abolishing the death penalty. But in those states the law abolishing the death penalty decision could be taken by legislatures. In California, for enacting such a law it is necessary to conduct a public poll.
Alarcon, Arthur, and Paula Mitchell. "EXECUTING THE WILL OF THE VOTERS?: A ROADMAP TO MEND OR END THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE’S MULTI - BILLION - DOLLAR DEATH PENALTY DEBACLE." Web. 8 Apr. 2015. <http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/LoyolaCalifCosts.pdf>.
Bedau, Hugo Adam, and Paul G Cassell. Debating The Death Penalty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print.
Henderson, Harry, and Stephen A Flanders. Capital Punishment. New York: Facts on File, 2000. Print.
Horgan, John. 'The Death Penalty'. Sci Am 263.1 (1990): 17-20. Web.
Melusky, Joseph Anthony, and Keith A Pesto. Capital Punishment. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood, 2011. Print.
Mitchell, Hayley R. The Death Penalty. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven Press, 2001. Print.