North Texas Daily

This & That: Against the death penalty

This & That: Against the death penalty

This & That: Against the death penalty
March 05
09:00 2020

There’s no denying that the death penalty is a hot topic in Texas, especially since it is one of the 29 states to practice it. There are many people for the death penalty in Texas, and there are many against it. I, personally, am against the death penalty for many reasons. 

The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, can only be given to those convicted of a capital crime, most commonly murder. The most common form of execution is lethal injection, though some states still use electrocution. Twenty-two people were executed in the U.S. in 2019, down from 25 in 2018

Since 1982, the state has executed 567 people, more than any other state in the nation. Those executions and the processes leading up to them cost a lot of money. That money is being used to put people to death through long, expensive legal trials that are often appealed (another process funded by taxpayers). Certainly, the state has better areas to funnel funds into than expensive executions. This is frankly a poor use of taxpayer money that could instead be used for schools, roads or public transportation.

Furthermore, there is a disproportionate amount of men of color on death row compared to white men. As of Feb. 2020, 44 percent of death row inmates are African American. This certainly raises a few red flags toward racial biases on juries and if these people really received a truly impartial conviction from a jury of their peers. Were these people seen for who they are and what they did, or were they seen through clouded judgement? 

There is also the question of whether or not all the people currently sitting on death row are actually guilty of the crime they were convicted of. Since 1987, 13 people in Texas have been released from death row after a wrongful conviction was reversed. Those 13 people were waiting to die for years before being freed. It is simply unacceptable that all these people spent a minimum of seven years in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, living in fear of the day they’ll be executed for a crime they didn’t commit. 

Do the people who really have committed these heinous crimes deserve this punishment? Absolutely. But, they deserve this punishment knowing they will have to endure it for the rest of their natural lives, not until they are executed some odd years later. They deserve to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and to never know freedom again the same way their victims won’t.

The death penalty is, simply put, an archaic punishment that was made for an archaic time. Modern society simply does not operate on an eye-for-an-eye mentality anymore. Punishments must fit the crime in a way that truly reflects the loss and tragedy of what has occurred. We owe it to victims, to offenders, to taxpayers and especially to each other to completely outlaw the death penalty.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas 

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Breck Sunlin

Breck Sunlin

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