ENG: 10 Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty
- Innocence and the Death Penalty - The wrongful execution of an innocent person is an injustice that can never be rectified. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty, 139 men and women have been released from death row nationally.
- The High Cost of the Death Penalty - It costs far more to execute a person than to keep him or her in prison for life.
- Death Penalty Can Prolong Suffering for Victims' Families - Many family members who have lost love ones to murder feel that the death penalty will not heal their wounds nor will it end their pain; the extended legal process prior to executions can prolong the agony experienced by the victims' families.
- International Views on the Death Penalty - The vast majority of countries in Western Europe, North America and South America - more than 139 nations worldwide - have abandoned capital punishment in law or in practice.
- Inadequate Legal Representation - Perhaps the most important factor in determining whether a defendant will receive the death penalty is the quality of the representation he or she is provided.
- Deterrence - Scientific studies have consistently failed to demonstrate that executions deter people from committing crime anymore than long prison sentences.
- Arbitrariness in the Application of the Death Penalty - Politics, quality of legal counsel and the jurisdiction where a crime is committed are more often the determining factors in a death penalty case than the facts of the crime itself.
- Religious Perspectives on the Death Penalty - Although isolated passages of religious scripture have been quoted in support of the death penalty, almost all religious groups in the United States regard executions as immoral.
- Racial Disparities - The race of the victim and the race of the defendant in capital cases are major factors in determining who is sentenced to die in this country. In 1990 a report from the General Accounting Office concluded that "in 82 percent of the studies [reviewed], race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e. those who murdered whites were more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks."
- Alternatives to the Death Penalty - In every state that retains the death penalty, jurors have the option of sentencing convicted capital murderers to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence is cheaper to tax-payers and keeps violent offenders off the streets for good.