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Should the death penalty be abolished? Show more Show less

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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Wrongful convictions are common

The criminal justice system has executed people wrongly. For this reason, we can never implement the death penalty with certainty of a person's guilt.
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Context

The Argument

Although the criminal justice system should not incarcerate innocent people, wrongful convictions are common. The National Registry of Exonerations reports that over 2,500 exonerations have occurred since 1989. [1] The death-penalty system is not exempt from this error. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 168 people have been exonerated from America’s death row since 1973, often due to factors like false confession, official misconduct, or mistaken witness identification. [2] The Equal Justice Initiative reports that for every nine people executed in the U.S., one person has been exonerated. [3] The criminal justice system is not perfect. The evidence shows that it makes mistakes. Because wrongful convictions are common, we cannot execute anyone with peace of mind. We have no right to sentence a criminal to the death penalty, knowing that this person could be innocent. For this reason, we should abolish the death penalty.

Counter arguments

The execution of an innocent person is tragic However, we should not abolish the death penalty because of wrongful convictions, because this is an extreme and unnecessary measure. The death penalty is a crucial part of our criminal justice system. It promotes justice, brings victims closure, and keeps our society safe. Although undeserved executions are heinous, they do not erase the death penalty's benefits. Rather than entirely abolishing the death penalty, we should reform the criminal justice system. The execution of innocent people implies that the system is broken, not the punishment. By providing defendants with zealous representation and fair trials, we can make wrongful convictions rare. If we redeem our criminal justice system, we can retain the death penalty with confidence that justice will be done.

Framing

Premises

[P1] The criminal justice system has convicted wrongly, and still holds the potential to incarcerate innocent people. [P2] Because of this, we can never avoid the risk of executing an innocent person. P3] For this reason, we should abolish the death penalty.

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/about.aspx
  2. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/policy-issues/innocence-database
  3. https://eji.org/issues/death-penalty/

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020 at 19:01 UTC