Argument in Favor of the Life in Prison over Execution Essay

Total Length: 473 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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The death penalty is a vestige of the past, a time when vengeance and retribution were the standard means of dealing with transgressions or deviance. While there are significant drawbacks with the American penal system and corrections institutions, a life term in prison is a far more reasonable sentence for the most heinous of crimes than capital punishment is. There are several reasons why the death penalty plays no role at all in a civilized democracy, and why it also threatens to undermine the very foundations of Constitutional law. The worst criminals—those who prove themselves incapable of rehabilitation or reform due to their psychological constitutions—can be effectively dealt with in prison, promoting public safety without putting at risk the integrity of the criminal justice system.

One of the main reasons to avoid using the death penalty is the possibility of false confessions and wrongful convictions. DNA evidence overturns convictions often enough to render the death penalty unreasonable. Moreover, the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution forbids the use of “cruel and unusual punishment.” While state-sanctioned executions are not unusual and are no less cruel than a prison sentence, capital punishment has a permanency that is both cruel and unusual.

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If evidence were to surface that exonerated the individual, there is no possibility of overturning a death sentence. The family of the wrongfully accused would suffer tremendously, and the general public would lose faith in the efficacy of a system that would kill the innocent.

Another reason why life in prison proves preferable to the death penalty is that capital punishment technically serves no real purpose other than to provide a vindictive populace with a sense of fulfilled vengeance. Vengeance rarely if ever fulfills its goals of psychological closure, and can never turn back a clock or right a wrong. Killing a perpetrator of a crime might offer temporary solace, and a false sense of security and peace. In the long run, though, capital punishment only creates a standard whereby the state is permitted to kill its own citizens. The state should set an example, not of leniency but of genuine justice. Victim restitution programs….....

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"Argument In Favor Of The Life In Prison Over Execution" (2018, June 25) Retrieved September 30, 2020, from

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"Argument In Favor Of The Life In Prison Over Execution", 25 June 2018, Accessed.30 September. 2020,