For years, capital punishment has been a controversial issue in our society. Many arguments can be made in favor and against it. It ultimately, however, comes down to personal beliefs and opinions. Personally, I feel that the death penalty is a very serious punishment, and should be used very carefully and sparingly. The death penalty is unremediable. What is done cant be corrected. This aspect of the sentence plays a heavy part in my opinion. The death penalty also is more costly than life imprisonment, and has not been found to be a greatly effective deterrent. Florida, as one example, calculated that each execution there costs some $3.18 million. If incarceration is estimated to cost the state $17000/year, a comparable statistic for life in prison of 40 years would be $680,000.(Harries and Cheatwood). Figures from the General Accounting Office are close to these results. Total annual costs for all U.S. Prisons, State and Federal, was $17.7 billion in 1994 along with a total prison population, non-death row, of 1.1 million inmates. That amounts to $16100 per inmate/year. (Porter). From this; the cost of keeping a 25-year-old inmate for 50 years at present amounts to $805,000. Assuming 75 years as an average life span, the $805,000 figure would be the cost of life in prison. So roughly it’s costing us $2 million more to execute someone than it would cost to keep them in jail for life. This is just the dollar cost. The risk of executing innocent persons is a decisive objection to the institution of capital punishment in the United States. Consequentialist arguments (you get what you deserve) for the death penalty are inconclusive at best; the strongest justification is a retributive one. However, this argument is seriously undercut if a significant risk of executing the innocent exists. Any criminal justice system carries the risk of punishing innocent persons, but the punishment of death is unique…
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