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Death Is Not Justice: Reasons Why the Capital Punishment Should Not Be Imposed

The human race had come a long way to finally realize that justice and revenge are not the same. As
civilizations developed, societies had devised new methods, other than an eye for an eye, to punish
its erring members. Thus, the global trend of shifting away from the imposition of the capital
punishment. The death penalty is an ancient practice that has no place in any modern society. It
should not be imposed.
Most nations that still impose the death penalty cite deterrence as the foremost reason. This
argument has been repeatedly debunked by different researchers not only in the United States but
across the globe. In the US, between non-death penalty states and executing states, there is no clear
evidence that suggested that the death penalty has large effects on the murder rate (Donohue and
Wolfers). In Hong Kong and Singapore where homicide levels and trends are remarkably similar,
there was also no evidence of any differential impact of imposing the capital punishment (Zimring,
et al.). Clearly, the argument that death penalty is a deterrence for crimes does not hold ground. If
any, the death penalty only breathes life to a culture of violence. It serves no other purpose but
revenge and only normalizes violent measures as a form of justice. For this reason alone, the death
penalty should not be imposed.

Aside from its inefficiency as a deterrent, the death penalty is also discriminatory. Studies have found
that racial background plays a role when US courts impose such sanction. There is statistically
significant disparity between death prosecutions against whites and non-whites, and among judicial
districts (Beardsley, et al.). In developing countries where the legal system is admittedly flawed and
justice is reserved for those who can afford it, the capital punishment is a penalty that especially
targets the poor and disenfranchised members of the society. In the Philippines, the first five death
row inmates whose convictions were affirmed by the Supreme Court are from the marginalized
sector of the society. The first man executed, Leo Echagaray, was a fish vendor, while the other four
did not have permanent jobs (Lopez). The poor, given their circumstances, has little to no access to
proper legal representation. This, in turn, leaves them vulnerable in courts and eventually results to
wrongful convictions. Just like what happened to Echegaray, when years later a Supreme Court
Justice admitted that the judgment was incorrect. However, these unfair and improper judgments
may no longer be rectified for the simple reason that death is permanent. The imposition of death
penalty is a law that further perpetuates the gap in societies, instead of closing it.
In addition, the decrease in countries executing death penalty shows that the world is moving
towards a new direction. In 2016, only 23 countries carried out executions a significant decrease
from twenty years ago when 40 countries carried out executions. In addition, more than two-thirds,
or 141 countries worldwide, are abolitionist in law or practice (Amnesty International). The United
Nations with an overwhelming majority also supports the abolition of death penalty. The shift in
consciousness across the globe now puts more weight on life and dignity of people. More societies
are valuing the life of a person for it not to be left to the will of another.
The Death Penalty does not live up to the benefits it promises safer communities, better judicial
system, and equality of the law. On the contrary, it does not deter crimes, it results to wrongful
convictions that cannot be rectified, and it perpetuates discrimination. It has no place in any modern
society. It should not be imposed.
Works Cited

Donohue, John J., and Justin Wolfers. "Uses and Abuses of Empirical Evidence in the Death Penalty
Debate." (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

Zimring, Franklin E., Jeffrey Fagan, and David T. Johnson. "Executions, Deterrence And Homicide: A
Tale Of Two Cities." N.p., n.d. Web

Beardsley, Meg, et al. Disquieting Discretion: Race, Geography & the Colorado Death Penalty in the
First Decade of the Twenty-First Century. University of Denver, 2015, Accessed 14 June 2017.
Lopez, Maria Glenda S. "The Poor on Trial in the Philippine Justice System*." (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

"The Death Penalty in 2016: Facts and Figures." Amnesty International. N.p., 11 Apr. 2017. Web. 9
June 2017.