Keeping the Death Penalty Essay

In the article “Stop the Death Penalty”, author Bill Richardson explains his position on the death penalty. Richardson starts the article by saying that he used to be a firm believer in the death penalty; however, six years ago he started to have a change of heart. Richardson now feels that the death penalty is irrevocable and should be stopped. He continued by saying that life without the possibility of parole is a better option. There are a number of people who would disagree with Richardson. Capital punishment can be the only true justice in certain cases.

The death penalty should not be stopped, because life without the possibility of parole is not a guarantee that the inmate won’t kill again. Furthermore, with necessary changes, the death penalty can be a meaningful and just way to keep society safe. The death penalty should be continued because it is equal justice to the crime committed and is a power that the state must exercise to put away heinous murderers. Life without possibility of parole is Richardson’s solution to punishing murders instead of the death penalty.

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However, his solution to make society safe from dangerous killers is flawed and cannot replace the justice that the death penalty brings. There are some people that are too dangerous and should be completely eliminated from society, and life without parole will not ensure an inmate won’t kill again. Because of a lapse of judgment of the individuals that operate California’s penal system, a brutal murderer was able to kill again. According to the article, “California Warden Now believes that Executions Don’t Make us Safer”, Robert Lee Massie was sentenced to death for the murder of a mother of two in 1965.

When the death penalty was banned after being ruled unconstitutional in 1972, his sentence was changed to life with a possibility of parole. He was paroled in 1978 and months later he was arrested again and charged with the murder of a 61 year old store owner. Massie is a perfect example of why the death penalty should not be stopped. Richardson could argue Massie had a possibility of parole, which gave him an opportunity to be freed back into society.

However, even if Massie had received a life without parole sentence, he could have ended up killing a fellow inmate, a guard, a visitor, or someone else. In addition, it is not unheard of for an inmate to escape from prison altogether. In today’s violent society, there should be a punishment fit for the crime. With that said, it is not only fair to exercise the death penalty it is practical. When a person decides to take someone’s life, they in turn give up their right to life. It isn’t fair for a person’s punishment to not equal their crime.

I feel that with the death penalty being the ultimate punishment for horrible crimes will make criminals think twice before committing murder. It is society’s job to act in self-defense and protect the innocent from harm, and the death penalty ensures that protection. The justice system may not be 100 percent perfect that is obvious. However, with necessary changes the death penalty can be a meaningful and just punishment. Richardson supports his decision of stopping the death penalty because he feels innocent lives are at stake if there is a mistake in the sentence of a person.

However, according to Jeanne Woodford, the prosecuting attorney of Indiana, “there is no credible evidence to show that any innocent persons have been executed at least since the death penalty was reactivated in 1976”. Moreover, the article “A Message from the Prosecuting Attorney of Indiana” states that the most accurate judgment sentence in any system of justice ever created is death penalty. The death penalty judgment sentence has very little if any mistakes when it comes to sentencing the right person for a crime committed.

Nevertheless, the death penalty is not perfect and is flawed in certain ways, such as the cost per prisoner, per year. The financial cost is staggering to take care of death row inmates. According to, the Report of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice (2008) “The additional cost of confining an inmate to death row, as compared to the maximum security prisons where those sentenced to life without possibility of parole ordinarily serve their sentences, is $90,000 per year per inmate. With California’s current death row population of 670, that accounts for $63. million annually. ” However, this can be fixed by not taking so long to execute an inmate that is positively guilty of the crime committed. The tax payers shouldn’t waste there money to feed and clothe a murderer in prison for something similar to 10 to 20 years before they are executed. Executing murderers faster would save money for California and make room for other killers to enter prison. In spite of these concerns, in my opinion the death penalty in appropriate cases is the only right punishment to do.

There is no adequate alternative in fair justice. Because, there may be flaws in the death penalty, it does not mean society can ignore the risk of having an inmate murder again. Richards’s views on the death penalty are unrealistic. To give someone life without parole does not ensure safety for others. In turn the death penalty guarantees a safe society. I have observed that a heartless murderer does not care about being locked up for the rest of their life. So a life sentence without parole does not affect the murderer a great deal.

The murderer has the privilege to do the following: eat three hot meals a day, work out, have social time, the ability to still see and talk to family members and love ones, experience joy and happiness, get married, laugh, talk, and breathe, unlike their innocent victims. The only true justice for the families and loved ones of the victims is to completely remove a murderer from society. To give the victims family real closure and to ensure that is the only option for a safer world.

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