Should There Be A Death Penalty?

[ By on April 27, 2016 ]

Prison life has been portrayed in many different ways from movie dramatizations, to documentaries trying to paint a realistic picture, to books letting the reader imagine life behind bars. When I think about it, I tend to side with documentaries and their attempts to give the general public a sense of what goes on in a world unfamiliar to many. The prison population is usually portrayed as violent, black or latino, and gang affiliated, however, these educational films do pick out the outliers in our prison system from gay inmates to inmates that received particularly harsh punishment for their crime. Although not always explicit, these documentaries paint a general picture of what life is like and alludes to some staggering statistics about what is wrong with our prison system today. One documentary in particular that strikes me is about inmates on death row. I have always wondered what they did to receive such a harsh punishment, if they deserve it, and can they turn their life around even if they never leave prison. Recently in ILS we discussed different attitudes that our justice system has taken towards punishment from being very rehabilitation focused in the ’60’s to now punish focused. We have now become a carceral state whose justice system is utilitarian retributionist. When I think about the issue of a death penalty, I wonder if it is ever really worth it to give up on someone and deny them freedom through death. I tend to side with no as I think everyone has a right to life and especially a second or maybe even third chance. Looking at the way that people are housed on Death Row and the way death is administered, I feel that some of it is cruel from the methods of death and their uncertainty, namely lethal injection, as well as their “final wishes”. From what I know they are only allowed to have a special last meal that is under $9, not much if you ask me. Regardless, this is just my opinion and a few thoughts on the matter. What do you think?

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6 Comments on “Should There Be A Death Penalty?”

  1. eingersoll

    Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

    [ May 04, 2016 at 12:30 am ]

    I think you’ve highlighted one key issue – is the death penalty a punishment or a deterrent? There is quite a bit known about whether it acts as a deterrent, so you should look into that if you wish to investigate this further. Another scientific aspect is to look into the kinds of drugs used and whether they cause pain or let someone die painlessly.

    Also, how consistent do you feel about your question about “giving up on someone?” Are there other situations in which you face that decision? Do they inform your thinking?

  2. eingersoll

    I think is a very large topic and can be view in many ways. One way you can look at it is through the available space in a prison and having too many people and not enough space. A question could be is it easier to put people on death row to have opening for dangerous people or should they not put people on death row and let the least dangerous people go with hopes they don’t reoffend.

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    Vitalii Tikhonov

    [ May 05, 2016 at 2:34 pm ]

    That’s a very interesting theme because it’s an issue in the world. I feel like that’s really depends on what the prisoner did. Also death penalties helps to make the population in the prisons smaller. I feel like if the person is a serial killer he deserves to be punished in that way. Also if the person have a high percentage of re offending he is not even supposed to be free. Also there is a lot of other ways devices used in case of death penalty. It’s not only the elictrical chairs like we can see in the movies. There is a lot of other harmless and painless ways of killing people.
    I also found that it’s also very expensive to kill people that way.

    You probably would up be interested in this article.

  4. eingersoll

    Samantha Grimes

    [ May 05, 2016 at 2:37 pm ]

    Depending on the location and the types of offenderes that house the prisoners, beleive it or not, a majoroty are populated by gangs and reoffenders that go in and out of the same prison. Have you ever considered that maybe people who have committed four or five murders just for their own pleasure are too dangerous to be around other humans? Even if they are kept in jail, a cold blooded killer will find a way to commit the same crime in jail, and then what? They will keep commiting this crime if there is no way they can possibly be stopped. The next best option is to contain the prisoner in a glass box, alone for the rest of thier lives with no human interaction, or restrained in a chair. Either way, the prisoner is most likeley think about killing themselves after living like that for an extended amount of time. So why not death penalty for someone who is too dangerous for the human race if they can’t have any interactions because of their repeted offences?

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    Jed Silverstein

    [ May 05, 2016 at 7:32 pm ]

    Hi Eliot,

    I like this topic, and know quite a bit about it. I think KNF is right about focusing on the science of the DP. Look into the execution cocktail they use, recent controversies about difficulty procuring reliable supply, and the legal prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Most people know very little about the medical details involved in execution. I think more light in this area would help to resolve some of the perennial controversy around this topic.


  6. eingersoll

    Michael Sclafani

    [ May 10, 2016 at 2:30 am ]

    How linked to your argument to the idea of rehabilitation versus the injustice of taking a life? Would you be less bothered by giving the death sentence to a prison who refused to express any remorse?

Hi Stranger, reply with your thoughts:

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