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Alexus Rawls
Eng111-095
Mrs. Taylor
4 May 2016

Argument Research Paper


Down with the Death Penalty
Have you ever watched an episode of American Justice or even the Cold Case Files? All
of their episodes are about citizens committing a crime with the police looking for the suspect,
and then afterward making sure they get the right punishment for their actions. In some cases, a
sentence can range up to a lifetime without parole, which is harsh. Sometimes if the crime
committed is atrocious enough, the person guilty will be sentenced to Death. (DPIC) The death
penalty was introduced in 1307 when Murcod Ballagh was beheaded for committing a crime in
the town. The government of the town called a meeting which led to the decision to watch
Murcod suffer being beheaded in front of all the towns people. During that time period the death
penalty was meant to scare the citizens and make them not want to commit a crime in the town.
(Fabricius) Americans use it as a normal punishment. In custody, most inmates wait years after
being sentenced for them to see their fate. Before then, a majority of the prisoners commit
suicide because of the vision of being put to death. The death penalty is not effective because it
fails to rehabilitate, people became mentally unstable, and lastly people are wrongful accused
then executed.
The concept of using prisons for rehabilitation is respectively common. In times past,
prisons were places that held the accused for a short term while waiting trial or punishment.
Rehabilitation through a restriction on rights was unknown during the time. In theory, the

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concept of prevention and reconstruction through incarceration remains the justification for
prisons to this day. (Morton) The practice of prisons is extremely different today. Criminals are
separated from society and all its bad influences. It is said that prison is a time to reflect on their
errors and with time and training, move on to be better citizens. The concept of being to ones
self is well suited for spiritual and moral rebirth. In such circumstances prisoners might indeed
be rehabilitated. Prisoners might spend time reflecting on their actions and see that they should
best avoid their former errors. Killing a person does nothing to rehabilitate them. You cant
change the dead.
While some prisons have the right training and counselling resources, no prisons can
isolate prisoners from the bad influence of other prisoners. Hard criminals can easily converse
with the others. Then put the easily available narcotics to the mix and it's hardly surprising that
few reform. (Morton) Prisons are becoming grossly overcrowded and under-resourced. The small
cells designed for one inmate often hold three. They are in those cells often for more than 12
hours a day. Violence is commonplace, made worse by overcrowding and drugs. It is possible to
make prisons that are free from drugs and where prisoners are treated for ill health and protected
from assault. While the death row prisoners are in those petite cells, they develop mental issues.
These issues lead into thoughts brought upon them that lead into self-harm. If they werent
pressured by the death penalty, they would probably see improvement.
Wrongful execution is common in criminal systems spanning across the globe. Many
innocent people get accused every day for doing a crime they did not commit. For example, Gary
Graham was convicted in 1981 and Executed in 2000. On June 23, 2000, Gary Graham was
executed in Texas, even though the numerous claims of his innocence. Graham was 17 when he
was charged for robbery and the shooting of Bobby Lambert outside a Houston supermarket. He

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was convicted solely on the testimony of one witness two other witnesses who worked at the
grocery store said they got a good look at the assailant and it was not Graham was not the killer.
They were never interviewed by Graham's court appointed attorney, Ronald Mock, and were not
called to testify at trial. (DPIC).

In Conclusion, we have executed over 1,414 individuals in

this country. Theres no telling the number worldwide. In the US, 156 individuals have been
found to be innocent and released since 1973. In other words, for every 10 people who have been
executed since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S one person has been set free. (DPIC)
Most of the prisoners become mentally unstable because they have no choice. To think about all
they done in the past is something that can change. You could also be innocent and still have to
face the fact you will be meeting your fate. Race is a Significant Factor in the decision for death
row because the United States justice system. They fall most heavily and unfairly on
communities of color and some judges are biased on certain cases. But the ruling for the death
penalty shows no bias. That's why the death penalty is not effective. (DPIC) The criminal justice
system does not give criminals the chance to change. It gives them the feeling of satisfaction to
know that they have taken another criminal away for good, not knowing if they are willing to
change.

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Works Cited
DPIC. "Death Penalty Information. 06 May 2012. Web. 03 May 2016.
Fabricius, Jorn. "The Guillotine." The Guillotine Headquarters. 14 June 2007. Web.
03May2016.
Morton, James. "Prison Life is Not a Time of Reflection; the Theory that Prisons Help
Rehabilitate Prisoners does Not Stand Up to the Evidence." The Vancouver
SunJul 06 2009. ProQuest. Web. 3 May 2016 .