Atheists Concerned for America: The Death Penalty



Note: Information here and here can confirm all the facts used in this essay.

"Reformation of the Death Penalty"

By Jordan "BluntJoey" Adorno

In the United States, the Death Penalty is a legal institution in thirty-six out of fifty states. However, the penalty is EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT in the overwhelming majority of cases. Indeed, save a few states, the Death Penalty system is statistically dysfunctional to the extreme, because instead of executing inmates, the states rip-off taxpayers and cheat victims of the justice promised to them. Essentially speaking, the sole problem is simple: only a small fraction of the US' death-row prisoners are ever executed, thanks to many mortifying blunders in the system. In fact, as of 2015, 85% of counties in the United States have not executed ONE person in almost 50 years! Therefore, because over 3,035 inmates await execution, the Death Penalty needs an immediate sincere, thorough reexamination (a href="">See More Death Penalty Statistics here).

As of the 2014 Gallup Poll, 63 % of Americans agree that the Death Penalty is a legitimate punishment for murderous crimes. This percentage has been very consistent in numerous credible polls throughout recent decades. Death Penalty condemners often display horrific abuses of the penalty throughout history. Prohibiting abuse or torture of ALL prison inmates in America (no matter how severe their crime), however, is the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, which bans cruel or unusual punishments. Thus, for example, we no longer execute by electric chair or hanging unless the prisoner opts for it (and even that is only in certain states); as a consecutive instance, Florida's lethal injection was put on hold for a year in 2007, until the Supreme Court finally ruled that inmates feel no pain while being executed. And unlike nations that outlandishly sentence death for petty crimes, America's death sentence is punishable only in the case of extremely heinous, premeditated murders.

With those basic facts in mind, it's quite a conundrum how inefficiently the Penalty is used: since 1976 when the Supreme court reinstated the penalty, California has accumulated nearly 700 inmates but has only executed THIRTEEN; even in Florida, one of the better states unbelievably, 64 executions have taken place, but that figure does not withstand the paling light of the 388 inmates who are (hypothetically) still awaiting their own "upcoming" ones; shockingly, Pennsylvania has managed only three executions since 1976, while a stunning 228 are "waiting". Remarkably, even the Military - who admittedly has only placed six people on death row since 1976 respectively - has executed nobody. Thus, this continuous problem has wasted BILLIONS of YOUR tax dollars. Death Penalty abolitionists are absolutely right about one critical variable: it costs way more money to keep a death-row inmate alive through years of exhaustive appeals, and only then execute them, than it would cost to just incarcerate them for life. This is because the futile process is drawn out sometimes unendingly, year after year, and if successful at all (which is only a very small minority of cases), commonly can take up to 25 years! Even if a few of these inmates DO need to be exonerated by the DNA we didn't have in the '80s, why not get their appeals going EFFICIENTLY in the interest of justice?!

Death-row inmates as a group neither line up with the demography of the incarcerated majority (non-death row prisoners), nor do they match the demography of free America either. Statistical proof of this is most substantial in the women-to-men ratio: although admittedly only approximately 9-11 % of murders are female-committed, 99 % of executions have been men. It's true that this pattern has improved, but it's nowhere near proportionate. Out of more than 388 Florida death-row inmates, for example, only 2 are women (not to mention that the state has only executed 2 women previously).

However, because of economic problems and medical shortages, the rate of execution has dropped by 12 % in 2010. In 2009 there were 52 executions, but this year there were merely 46. The slow process of appeals and lack of efficient zeal has only worsened statewide. In order to fix this continuous problem, it seems practical for the states to administer DNA tests to all inmates placed on Death Row prior to its availability. This would exonerate any (hypothetical) innocent inmates much faster; after all, condemners and supporters of the Death Penalty alike want NO innocent people executed, correct? Speaking of which, anti-Death Penalty advocates like to slander Public Defenders as jokes. These civil servants are accused of throwing off the system with their "inferiority" to private defense attorneys, "true experts" only the rich afford. In truth, Public Defenders don't have substantial blame in that. Remarkably, in stark contrast to common misconceptions, Public Defenders are in truth statistically no less effective than Private Attorneys, just as reported by The National Law Review, as well as Pacific-Standard: The Science of Society, among other credible studies. Thus, clarifications now in check, it becomes transparent that the miracle of DNA in the 21st century is the very key that could most easily speed the system up in ALL 36 Death Penalty states.

In conclusion, it is not amorality that thrills my passionate Death Penalty support. I out of righteousness believe ALL murderers, regardless of degree, should receive the Death Penalty. Whether the murderer "premeditated" the murder seems almost immaterial, considering the victim remains dead nonetheless! Those convicted of 2nd degree murder often receive 25 years to life and serve less than 50 % of that! Is that justice? No! Murder is murder, and without prejudice every murderer deserves to pay the same price (especially where your tax dollars are concerned!): a humane, legal execution.