‘Cruel and unusual’ or justice?


According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 22 people were executed in the United States in 2019. Source https://www.vox.com

Adeline Davern , Reporter

No one in Illinois has been sentenced to the death penalty since 1999. It wasn’t until 2011 that capital punishment for first degree murders was abolished by Governor George Ryan.

Capital punishment is a very controversial topic in the United States; some believe it’s the most effective method to punish murders and some believe that no matter the crime committed, execution should never be the answer.

‘’Even if the exercise of my power becomes my burden, I’ll bear it because our constitution compels it. I’m going to sleep well tonight knowing I made the right decision,” said former Governor Ryan.

As of right now Washington, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine have all completely abolished the death penalty. However, it is still a viable option in the remaining 29 states.

The death penalty is, to some extent, a violation of the rights guaranteed to American citizens by the U.S. Constitution.

According to the 8th amendment, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.’’

In recent years  U.S. citizens have begun to consider the death penalty to be ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment. A record high 60% percent of Americans now say life without possibility of parole is a “better penalty for murder” than the death penalty.*

“I do not believe that someone should be executed for their actions, they need to live the rest of their life in prison with the guilt of their crime,” said Taylor Schultz, Div. 024.

The use of the death penalty can aid with government funding. The reduction of the number of incarcerations in the United States will reduce the money alligated to prisons.

To some, the death penalty is justice to those who have taken the life of another. Many families do not find comfort in the fact that their family members’ murder is still alive. The death penalty is seen as an eye for an eye system that can bring about closure.

Although Texas is one of the top states for death penalty, many citizens of the state do not agree with the governor’s decisions. On Nov. 9, 2019 citizens gathered to rally at the governor’s mansion to protest against his decision to execute Rodney Reed. Rodney Reed has been in prison since Apr. 23, 1996 for abduction, rape and strangulation of Stacey Sitites and claimed innocence on the case. Prior to the rally, the court decided to suspend Reed’s death penalty just days before he was set to receive lethal injection.

“Will you stop this wrongful and painful execution of my son? If you don’t, then you are just as guilty of murder,” said Reed’s mother during the rally at Governor Greg Abbott’s mansion.

It is suspected that the death penalty will be abolished in almost all states in America, but as of right now there are only 21 states have abolished it.