The Death Penalty should be Abolished

Jordyn West, Staff Writer

On Dec. 10, 2020, at 9:27 p.m. Brandon Bernard was federally executed by lethal injection. Bernard was an accomplice to a gang related crime when he was 18. He had great remorse for the terrible thing that he did and strived everyday to become a better person. He was a role model in the prison and was even awaiting early release. 

But he never got the chance to do so due to the Trump administration even though he was urged to delay the sentence by five of the nine supreme court justices who were originally on the case. 

The injustice of this rushed decision caused an outrage among many activists and the saying “abolish the death penalty” was thrown around. 

This is just one example of the injustices in our criminal justice system. We have lost too many lives due to the death penalty, many whose lives didn’t need to be lost. I am in no way saying that the crime Bernard committed is acceptable in any way, but the death penalty was originally created for people who committed the worst of crimes, and what Bernard did was not one of the highest crimes. 

The death penalty is completely unjust and should be abolished.

According to the eighth amendment “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.” The death penalty goes against everything it stands for. In an article written by Emmaline Soken-Huberty, a freelance writer based in Oregon, she says, “In the United States, research shows that 3 % of executions between 1890-2010 were ‘botched’” and “It causes severe suffering to the prisoner” and lastly, “When injections go wrong, it can take a long time for a prisoner to die. Exams after death show serious chemical burns and other injuries.” This is considered cruel and unusual punishment, which I previously mentioned goes against the Eighth Amendment. 

The death penalty has taken away the lives of innocent people. People are found guilty of crimes they didn’t commit all the time, and some of those people are put on death row. If they are found innocent after their execution, we won’t be able to bring them back.

Even people that don’t necessarily agree with the death penalty rationalize the punishment with the argument of “at least it deters crime, right?” Actually, this is a false statement. Studies show that countries and places that have abolished the death penalty or don’t use it, actually have less crime rates than places that do use the death penalty. Canada abolished the death penalty in 1976. Their crime rates in 1975 were 3.03 per 100,000, and the year after it was abolished in 1977 the rate actually lowered to 3.00 per 100,000, according to Statistics Canada. Today the crime rates in Canada are 1.80 per 100,000. In America, where we still use the death penalty, the crime rate is 382.9 per 100,000, from Statista. 

So, the death penalty goes against the eighth amendment and is inhumane, it takes the lives of innocents, it doesn’t deter crime, and it doesn’t even save money. The death penalty is completely unnecessary and has no room in the American criminal justice system. It should be ruled unconstitutional and should be abolished at the federal level.