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Behind Bars Essay, Research Paper

I agree with the law that people who commit crimes need to be punished for their wrong doings. However, I do not agree with the way that the law thinks that problem should be handled through the death penalty. The bad part about the death penalty is that innocent people are executed, the mentally retarded are executed, and the death penalty is costly.

As long as the death penalty is maintained, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated. People who are found guilty and sentenced to death row can truly be innocent. It is said by Amnesty International, a campaigning movement that works to promote all the human rights, “Since 1973 at least 53 men were released from death row in seventeen US stated due to significant evidence of their innocence and that some prisoners escaped execution by minutes but 23 were actually executed”. Everyone is not perfect. People can fall victim to false testimonies, mistaken identification, community prejudice, and pressure. These are just a few ways in which a person can be found guilty of a crime. These are crucial mistakes that can happen and a person can quickly be sentenced to the death penalty without second thought. Innocent people should not have to experience situations so terrifying which could lead a person to flip out and go insane. There is no reason for an innocent person to be killed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time or for some other ridiculous mistake that happened in the court. One article in Amnesty International states that “Judging by past experience, a substantial number of death row inmates are indeed innocent and there is a high risk that some of them will be executed”. Some people are judged by their past and not by the current crime they are accused of committing and evidence presented in that particular case. When this happens, a person is wrongly accused of a crime he/she did not commit and now has to pay for it because of uninformed people who do not believe

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a person can change their bad ways to good ways.

The death penalty is unfair to the mentally retarded and mentally ill people as well. People who are legally classified as mentally retarded or ill should not be executed or even be held criminally responsible for their actions. These people do not know what they are doing and the court system should not take their life away because of their handicap. Amnesty International says that, “At least 45 people diagnosed as mentally ill or with mental retardation have been executed in the US since 1983″. I can’t see executing someone who does not know what they have done. That is like killing a baby. Instead of killing these people we need to help them get themselves together.

The cost of executing a person is shameful. In Florida alone, “they spend about $3.2 million on each death row inmate compared to about $535,000 for an average of 40 years for each prisoner sentenced to life”. It costs more for a person to be executed than to spend life in prison, so why do we have the death penalty? Now that the judicial system wants to add more crimes to the list of capital offenses, more people will be executed and the cost will rise higher than its current cost.

I believe that if you exchange the death penalty for life in prison with no parole as the sentence for capital offenders we would have a more just nation. I think that it would solve some problems arising from groups and organizations that do not agree with judicial actions towards the death penalty. This way there will be no people wrongfully murdered and people the real murders will be locked up for life. Also, for those who are found guilty and are truly innocent, this gives them a chance to prove their innocence without being killed first. There is no reason why people have to be executed anyway. Instead, they should be helped to become more suitable to handle the society and the problems they will face.

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