Broken promises of protection

Create shattered justice systems


     This country was built on the basis of guaranteed freedoms to individuals. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were preached in the Constitution, yet the same country allows the death penalty to take place.  

    Capital punishment violates the right to be subjected not to be subjected to, “torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment,” according to the International Commission Against Death Penalty.   

    A viable form of crime control does not stem from the death penalty. According to Brtiannica, there has “never been any evidence that the death penalty reduces capital crimes or that crimes increased when executions stopped.” If there are no statistics that can support the number one argument for keeping the death penalty, why is it still around?   

    People will continue to live their lives as they choose. In fact, they may feel compelled to commit serious crimes because of the oppositional defiance disorder, a phenomenon in which one does something only because they have been told not to.    

    Amnesty International reports that in some countries, people who were under 18 years old when they commited capital crimes could be sentenced to the death penalty. This form of punishment can also be used against people with mental and intellectual disabilities, or after unfair trials. While the United States Supreme Court prohibits the execution of persons under the age of 15, they still waste large sums of money on resources used to kill.  

    Ineffective does not adequately describe the uselessness of this form of punishment. People can spend years on death row, some guilty, others not, waiting. What are they learning?   

    Absolutely nothing.   

    Not only that, but mistakes happen more often than they should. According to Witness to Innocence, 68.7% of all innocent members of the death row (187 as of 2021) were falsely accused of a crime. Without any reason at all, their lives are taken from them.  

    Within the justice system, there are countless cases of discrimination and biased trials. Amnesty International reports that the unfair trials were led on the basis of “torture-tainted evidence with inadequate legal representation.” Some countries have the death sentence set as the mandatory punishment for certain offenses, meaning that “judges are not able to consider the circumstances of the crime or of the defendant before sentencing.”  

     The aforementioned guaranteed rights of US citizens are blatantly disregarded in terms of capital punishment. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been directly protecting these liberties since 1948. How can this country shoot, behead, lethally inject, or hang individuals when they promised to protect their rights? 

    There are no positive outcomes to these punishments. Innocent lives are at stake. Wouldn’t it be more effective to allow these wrongdoers to sit in prison for the rest of their lives, and not give them an escape from their crimes?