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Should the death penalty be abolished? Show more Show less
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Capital punishment is the government-sanctioned execution of an individual as retribution for a crime. Although most countries have abolished death penalty sentences, many retain this practice, including the United States, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Should we abolish the death penalty, or support each government's right to punish crime as it sees fit?

Yes, we should abolish the death penalty Show more Show less

The death penalty unjustly targets vulnerable demographics, wastes taxpayer money, and violates the sanctity of human life.
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The death penalty targets racial minorities

Minorities receive death penalty sentences at a disproportionately high rate.

The Argument

According to the United States Census Bureau, 13% of the U.S. population is Black. [1] However, Black Americans comprise 42% of the death row population, a startlingly disproportionate number compared to their presence in the population. [2] The Death Penalty Information Center reports that in executions for murder, "75 percent of the cases involve the murder of white victims, even though blacks and whites are about equally likely to be victims of murder." [3] Undoubtedly, the criminal justice system is racially biased. We cannot trust it to execute people fairly, without discriminating based on race. For this reason, we should abolish the death penalty.

Counter arguments

The death penalty's discriminatory use is horrible, but abolishing it is not a proper response to this injustice. This racial bias suggests that our system is broken, not the punishment itself. We must not abolish capital punishment, because it still serves as a fitting and retributive sentence for those who deserve it. Instead of abolishing the death penalty, we must reform the criminal justice system, ensuring that racial bias plays no role in deciding punishment.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] The death penalty is racially biased. [P2] We cannot apply the death penalty without risking racial bias. [P3] For this reason, we should abolish the death penalty.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219
  2. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/policy-issues/race/race-and-the-death-penalty-by-the-numbers
  3. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/policy-issues/race
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020 at 19:00 UTC

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