The Death Penalty in the USA

The death penalty in the USA

The death penalty is legal in 32 states in the US. It is executed on people who commit serious crimes such as murder, rape, and genocide. Texas has the highest number of executions. The death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Since then 1499 people have been executed, 16 of them are women and 22 are juveniles. In 2005 the Supreme Court abolished the execution of juveniles.

The US is among the 54 countries in the world that apply death penalties. Executions are done in different ways such as electrocution, lethal injections, hanging and shooting. There are both advantages and disadvantages to the death penalty. The advantages of the death penalty include; it prevents overpopulation in prisons, criminals who execute unjust acts deserve such punishments and it acts as an example to those who want to engage in crime and thus reduces crime rates. The disadvantages to the death penalty include; it is more expensive to execute criminals rather than imprison them, it also does not deter crime from occurring, families of the victim are left in grief and pain after they lose a loved one and it excludes the possibility of rehabilitation.

The death penalty is not ethical. It cuts short the life of a person. Every individual has a right to choose whether to live or not to live and life is divine. Killing shows a lack of respect for human dignity. It is immoral. The death penalty can also lead to the death of innocent people due to faulty judicial systems. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty, 124 people on the death row have been set free for lack of enough evidence to prove them guilty.

Judges sometimes discriminate against people based on race when passing judgment. In the early 20th century. 89% of those who were executed were black defendants who were accused of raping white women. With great efforts of those who are against the death penalty such as Amnesty International. There is a high possibility that more states and nations are going to end the death penalty. Opponents train lawyers on how to argue in cases to ensure they evade the execution of their clients.

Although some individuals and organizations strongly oppose the death penalty. Several states, federal governments, and the military in the US still apply it. Nowadays the most preferred execution process is the lethal injection as the patient dies peacefully without too much pain. With the great opposition of the death penalty. More states are likely to abolish it.


Latzer, Barry. Death penalty cases: Leading US Supreme Court cases on capital punishment. Elsevier, 2010.

Grayer, Laurence A. “A Paradox: Death Penalty Flourishes in the US While Declining Worldwide.” Denv. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 23 (1994): 555.

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