Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:07 PM
There are many problems with the death penalty, aside from killing a few innocent people along the way. It costs states a lot more than life in prison. Wanna make it cheaper - Eliminate the appeal process, but then you'll end up killing more innocents.
Then there's the issue of killing somebody's family member. Everyone rightfully feels terrible for the victims family, but the murderer has family too. They didn't do anything wrong, but will suffer just the same.
The law says we don't execute mentally ill, but there's varying degrees of mental illness. It's extremely arbitrary to pick and chose who qualifies and who doesn't.
There's also the issue of the first to turn states evidence gets life, while the other gets death, for the same crime. That's a dramatic difference just based on who the prosecutor gets to roll over first. Even if the second one is willing to roll, he's screwed.
Then there's the issue of people going insane waiting to be executed. That's cruel and unusual in itself.
State-sanctioned executing of citizens... that's the kind of sh*t countries like China, Iran and North Korea do. Not civilized countries. Except the US.
20+ years after the crime, the condemned are often completely different people. You aren't killing a young stupid murderer, but an older man some of which are reformed. I heard a warden interviewed who said this was a huge issue for him. "Letting out dangerous ex-cons who's sentences are up, and then having to execute some men you'd trust to babysit your kid."
There's other problems, but those reasons enough. As for being a deterrent, it ain't. Nobody in history has ever said "I'd commit murder if the sentence was only life in prison, but that death penalty is just too much." Which is why not surpringly there's no correlation in murder rates between states with death penalty and those without.
The one benefit of the death penalty - compensation to victim and victim families. If you can call it compensation. But the problems that go along with it are just too much.
I will say there are extremely rare cases where the death penalty might be appropriate... cases involving terrorist leaders and spies, where even in prison for life, the person poses a real threat to national security. Osama Bin Laden for example.