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“I believe [ ] that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a.
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Here, the state is deliberately orphaning the children, who often find that support systems from the wider family are strained, with the family of the murder victim not wanting to associate with the children because they are related to the killer.

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There are some small instances of good practice related to children of parents sentenced to death or executed, like the parents who prepare documents or recordings for children to keep a link after death, or mourning rituals where families of the executed come together to remember their loved ones. But these are very small mitigations of a great and enduring harm.

Their needs and their rights, including the right to have their best interests taken into account in all actions concerning them , argue powerfully against the imposition of a parental death sentence. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This website uses cookies to help us understand the way visitors use our website. We can't identify you with them and we don't share the data with anyone else.

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The Death Penalty: An Opinion Essay

Accept cookies Reject cookies. All blog posts What happens to the child whose parent is sentenced to death? Oliver Robertson 9th October To mark the 17 th World Day Against the Death Penalty on 10 October , this expert blog by Oliver Robertson, an expert on abolition of the death penalty and rights of children whose parents are in prison, reflects on the impacts of having a parent sentenced to death or executed.

The argument for public punishment was that it deters crime, and even today a common argument in favor of executions is that through deterrence they save the lives of innocent people. Is that true? One study purported to find that each execution deterred five murders, while opponents of the death penalty sometimes argue the opposite, that executions brutalize society and lead to additional murders.

Statisticians and criminologists have studied this issue carefully for decades, and the general conclusion is that executions have no greater deterrent effect than long prison sentences. Murder rates are actually lower in states without the death penalty than in those with it. Some jurisdictions have periodically banned the death penalty and then brought it back, and this back-and-forth seems to have zero impact on homicide rates. Scholars have also examined whether there is a decline in homicides after well-publicized death verdicts or executions; there is not. One rigorous study published by the American Economic Review found no clear deterrent effect and noted that depending on the statistical model used, one could conclude that each execution saves 21 lives or causes an additional 63 murders.

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Note also that a poll of leading criminologists found that only 5 percent believed that capital punishment was an effective deterrent; 88 percent believed the opposite. Meanwhile, the experts polled in that survey agreed that death penalty debates distract legislatures from policies that actually would reduce crime — like lead removal, early childhood programs, career academies, job training, gang violence initiatives like Cure Violence , and programs for at-risk young people like Becoming a Man.

This argument, too, is groundless: Capital punishment is far more expensive than life prison terms. This is because pretrial preparations, jury selection and appeals are all more expensive in capital cases, and death row confinement is more costly than incarceration for the general prison population.

Collins of Seattle University and colleagues. One reason death penalty cases are expensive is that the defense is given more time and resources to prepare the case, and appeals are automatic. So you would think that innocent people are less likely to be put to death than to serve life sentences. That may be true. Researchers find that an exoneration is times more likely for a death sentence than for other sentences.

Yet if death penalties get unusual scrutiny, there are countervailing forces. A second factor is that death sentences are often sought after particularly brutal crimes that create great pressure on the police to find the culprits. In , for example, after five black teenagers in New York City were arrested in the rape and beating of a white investment banker who became known as the Central Park Jogger, Donald Trump bought full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty.

The teenagers were later exonerated when DNA evidence and a confession by another man showed that they were innocent of that crime.

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One peer-reviewed study suggested that at least 4. With more than 2, Americans on death row, that would imply that more than innocent people are awaiting execution. The Supreme Court in restored the death penalty partly because it was confident that safeguards — such as meticulous rules about when death penalties could be applied — would eliminate the arbitrary application of capital punishment.

Racial bias affects every aspect of the criminal justice system, and researchers have found that black defendants not only do worse than white defendants, but also that blacks with dark complexions fare worse than those with light ones.

A Biblical Perspective on The Death Penalty

Of prisoners now on death row, 42 percent are black, 42 percent are white, and most of the remainder are Hispanic. Bias is not just found in judges and prosecutors. In Washington State, researchers found that juries were four times as likely to recommend a death sentence for a black defendant as for a similar white defendant. The same study also underscored how random capital punishment is. In Thurston County in Washington, prosecutors sought the death penalty in 67 percent of aggravated murder cases; in Okanogan County, miles away, zero percent.

Over all in America, 2 percent of counties account for a majority of death penalty cases. Researchers have found that whether Texas prosecutors seek the death penalty depends partly on how The Houston Chronicle covers the case. They have also found that if a jury has a majority of women, it is less likely to recommend death.

Justice is supposed to be blind. But it is not supposed to be random.

Aside from deterring murders and saving money, a third common argument for the death penalty is that it is appropriate retribution for a heinous crime, a way for a community to rise up and express its revulsion for some brutal act. We dishonor victims, so the argument goes, if we simply lock away a monster. This is an argument that cannot be countered with data, for it rests on values. Such values-based arguments have been made through history for stoning adulterers and burning witches — and, in Japan in the s, boiling Christians alive. Strom Thurmond, the South Carolina senator who was the longest-serving Republican in congressional history, used to boast that as a judge in the s and s, he had sentenced four men to death; he saw capital punishment as reflecting community values and had no regrets, for the men got what they deserved.

A South Carolina lawyer, David Bruck, looked into those four death sentences. Three involved black men: one who was deranged from syphilis, one who was accused of rape by a white woman but had many alibi witnesses and may have been innocent, and one who in self-defense shot an armed white man who attacked him.

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  • The fourth was a white man who, in a rage, killed his girlfriend. At the time, it may have seemed to Thurmond and the white community self-evident that these four executions were righteous. Because they were only sent to jail and not sentenced to death their sentence can be reversed. A death penalty is irreversible. The jury is also a factor in determining penalty.

    Several times the same crimes are committed and different sentences are given out. A black man may receive the death penalty while a white man can get imprisonment. They do not want to be held responsible for the death of someone, innocent or guilty. The death penalty is unjust and morally wrong. When someone murders someone else, the correct punishment is not to murder him or her, but to try and help them.

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