The Death Penalty

“We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.” 

“Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.” are two famous quotes from George Bernard Shaw, and Joe Abercrombie regarding the U.S. death penalty.

I was watching a documentary about the death sentence, and as a compassionate person, you can understand why I was so horrified to find out people have been falsely accused and killed before evidence was found proving their innocence. For example, the Cameron WIllington case. Cameron was wrongfully sentenced to death and was killed. Months later, he was proved innocent. It was much too late, however, as Cameron was no longer alive.

Death is irreversible, when deciding if someone can live or not, there is no space for errors. Sadly, humans make errors, and innocent people have paid the price. 150 people have been released from death penalty since 1973. If that evidence was found even one day later, an innocent life would be lost. Humans do make mistakes. “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.” Is a quote from J.R. Tolkien that puts us in our place. We don’t have the power to give life to others, so why do we think it is our responsibility to plan death?


Emmaline Soken-Huberty, who has a concentration degree in human rights and humanitarianism, wrote that “Studies show that the mentally ill, people of color, and the poor make up the majority of death row inmates.” Between 5-10% of prisoners on death row have a severe mental illness, according to Mental Health America. Black people make up over 40% of the prisoners with a death sentence. When researchers take a deeper dive, they discover patterns of discrimination based on race. According to the United Nations, the poor are also disproportionately affected by the death penalty on a global scale. They are less likely to get good representation, and the system is biased against them. Even though these groups are not committing the most crimes, they are the ones receiving the most severe punishment.

We need to do something about the death penalty. If we simply abolished the death penalty we would not only help thousands of families that deserve a father or mother figure in their life, but also  the government. It is cheaper to imprison killers for life than to execute them, according to a series of recent surveys. Tens of millions of dollars cheaper, politicians are learning, during a tumbling recession when nearly every state faces job cuts and massive deficits.


Word Count: 450 words

Works Cited

“Capitol Punishment Quotes.” Goodreads,

     capital-punishment. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020. 


“Does the Death Penalty Bring Closure to a Victim’s Family?” PBS News,

     Accessed 16 Apr. 2020. 


Soken-Huberty, Emmiline. “5 Reasons Why the Death Penalty Is Wrong.” Human

     Rights Careers,

     why-death-penalty-is-wrong/. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.

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3 thoughts on “The Death Penalty

  1. Brookley, this is a really great piece that brings light to a topic most are either uncomfortable with or too afraid to face the facts of the tragedies dealt by the hand of our own government. You really hooked me with those amazing quotes that immediately caught my attention. This piece is really great and will still be great if you don’t change anything but perhaps next time write a little bit more about why people might want to keep the death penalty and then rebuttal because even though it kills a lot of innocent people and that should be stopped, some people have done horrible crimes that really do deserve the death penalty as punishment.

  2. I really like your writing and it was very well written because of all the quotes you put. I really look the quote in the beginning because it is a good hook and it makes me want to read on. Your call to action is very strong and it is very clear that you are against the death penalty. Although you put good quotes and it helped make your writing stronger, perhaps next time you could put more of your own writing rather than quotes so it is easier to follow.

  3. I was glad to see an editorial on this topic, though not as much as if it had had the same viewpoint as I did. I was happy to see the Gandalf quote and was happy that you gave us a good mixture of both numbers and quotes. However, there are a few possible problems. First of all, can you please tell me what studies found that it was cheaper to imprison someone for life than to kill them? This does not make any logical sense to me, so I would like to see the studies or their results. Also, you said that a lot of innocent people have died. While this is true, and we do need to be more careful about the death penalty, we should leave it at that. We just need to have concrete evidence. Think about all of the guilty people that were executed though. Didn’t Osma bin Laden deserve death? Thomas Hickey (part of Washington’s personal guard who tried to assassinate him)? Yes, some innocent people are killed, but a lot more guilty people are justly executed too. Otherwise though, great job.

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