As part of their AP U.S. Government studies, Marshfield High School students researched and compiled information on an issue they cared about and wrote letters to the editor. Hub City Times will publish a collection of their letters.
The death penalty has been a much debated topic throughout our nation’s history, but recently I have come to the conclusion that it is not an appropriate way to punish criminals. I used to be pro-death penalty, but new information recently caused me to change my mind.
The information that baffled me is 4 percent of the people who receive the death penalty are innocent, and 276 cases — or 3.15 percent of the executions performed — were unsuccessful. People have to endure the pain of their execution method, which would most likely be electrocution or lethal injection, and to me and many others, these percentages are too high and immoral.
The financial side of the spectrum is not desirable either. The cost of execution to the taxpayer is $90,000 more per year than for a prisoner in general population. The death penalty also is hypocritical in the sense that the government is killing people to show that killing people is wrong. The government is saying that retaliation is OK, especially in violent circumstances.
With this information brought to my attention, I believe the death penalty should be banned as a form of punishment in all states, which would ultimately save the lives of many innocent people and prevent the suffering of botched execution attempts.