Capital Punishment: is it a cruel way to die, even for murderers?

Hazel McCallion Senior Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

By Robyn H. (Grade 7)

How many executions will it take for the American justice system to comprehend that capital punishment is a heartless way to die, even for criminals and murderers? How long will it take for them to make sense of the ever-so-famous saying, "Two wrongs don't make a right"? By the 1800's, Parliament had enacted many new capital punishment offenses, and hundreds were being sentenced to death each year. Presently, 3,000 inmates await to be executed in the United States alone. After intensive research it is clear that capital punishment serves no purpose in Canada or anywhere else for that matter.

Capital punishment should be revoked due to numerous mistaken accusations. A mistaken accusation is the same as a wrongful conviction. When the wrong person is accused of doing something they didn't do in this case, it becomes a matter of life or death. If the jury decides on the wrong verdict, then the wrong person is submitted to the death penalty. Leslie Cantu, a 13-year-old from Texas, says, "A prisoner discovered to be blameless can be freed; but neither release nor compensation is possible for a corpse."

Someone who is wrongly convicted and put in jail can always be let out of jail when they discover that they are innocent but, if they put the wrongly convicted person to death, that person can't ever be let out.

In the past 100 years, 75 wrongful convictions have been made in the U. S.. Eight of these 75 criminals were executed, and that's eight too many. If the death penalty were outlawed, those eight people could have lived. Since those eight people can't be brought back, we as a society should stop capital punishment now before another eight innocent people have to die.

Secondly, the justice system can't base their decisions for capital punishment on revenge. Revenge is a thought, not an emotion. Rafe Mair, writer of BC Voice says, "For if we are going to have revenge as the reason for hanging people, does it not then become a tenet for all sentencing? If so then what separates us from the 'eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth' philosophy which guides the sentencing system in Saudi Arabia?" If revenge is to be the reason people are put to death, then where do we draw the line? Imagine the case of a housewife who absent-mindedly locks her young daughter outside on a cold day. If the daughter froze to death, is it right for the mother to be sentenced to death, even though it was an accident? The father would want revenge, wouldn't he?

In conclusion, it is clear that capital punishment serves no purpose other than to ease the pain of the victim's family. Since 1800, the debate on capital punishment has remained topical. Over time, putting criminals to death has been tried and tested with minimal results. Society needs to end their debate with one simple answer. No more should capital punishment be used for justice. We should all follow the words of the Holy Bible. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

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