Death to the Death Penalty

Death to the Death Penalty

Halina Dreger

America has long been considered a country that has set a precedent for democracies all over the world, from its humble beginnings to its founders’ promises of freedom. In order to sustain this freedom, we must uphold the liberty that we have stood for since America’s beginnings, but we cannot do this while we still practice capital punishment; we cannot do this while we violate our founding documents, while we risk the lives of the innocent and do so at the cost of taxpayers.

Capital punishment quite blatantly defies the promises of America’s founding principles—did the Declaration of Independence not state man’s guarantee to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” Does the death penalty not deny the right to life? Further, the Eighth Amendment of our constitution (the very law of the land) prevents the government from inflicting “cruel or unusual punishment” upon a citizen. Is it not cruel to kill somebody? Is it not cruel and unusual to take a person’s husband or wife from this world? Somebody’s daughter, son, or grandchild?

These are ethical and political questions—which can become subjective—but there is no arguing with numbers, numbers that prove how costly and inefficient capital punishment truly is. According to the Kansas Judicial Council, as of 2014, it cost $400,000 for a case with death penalty charges in the state, as opposed to $100,000 for a case without it.

These prices are high, but no price is higher than that of life. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, since 1973, over 155 people have been taken from death row after being found innocent—that’s over 155 innocent people who feared for the lives while they sat on death row, over 155 innocent people that the government nearly killed. Does that sound like the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The death penalty is obviously risky, costly, and unconstitutional. There is no room in this world for anything so damaging, and for that reason we must put our efforts into ending capital punishment.