The Daily Aztec

Capital punishment is an outdated concept

by Kayla Henrikson, Staff Writer

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On Oct. 11, Washington state abolished the death penalty.

As a person born and raised in the good old Evergreen State, it felt good to know I would be coming home to such good news.

However, though I’m from Washington, I go to school here in California, so as one would expect, California has become my home, and I find it appalling that California is one of these 30 states where the death penalty is still legal.

It’s interesting murder is one of the only crimes where the punishment can be the same as the crime itself.

Think about it. People who commit sexual assault do not then get assaulted themselves.

When someone is caught stealing, their valuables are not then taken from them.

Capital punishment is essentially the concept of an eye for an eye.

This concept is quite silly to me.

It’s like fighting fire with fire.

The idea of punishing a person who killed someone by also killing them is hypocritical.

Additionally, dying isn’t necessarily a bad outcome to a convicted criminal, so why is the punishment of death deemed as the ultimate punishment?

Death is just a part of life.

In fact, a murderer who is sentenced to death is getting the easy way out.

Getting locked away and having to live out their life behind bars is way worse than death.

They’ll be forced to live the rest of their lives just thinking about all of the terrible choices they’ve made.

I understand some people believe the death penalty gives closure to the victims, but killing doesn’t reverse atrocities that have already been committed.

Additionally, I’d argue the death penalty is a direct violation of the eighth amendment.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,” the amendment reads.

Well, forcing death on an individual is cruel because it’s a ruthless act.

Aside from the morality argument, sentencing someone to life in prison is cheaper than the death penalty.

In California, Judge Arthur Alarcon and professor Paula Mitchell calculated if California were to switch all of the people currently on death row to life in prison without parole, it would immediately save $170 million and over the next 20 years, save $5 billion.

That is a large sum of money which could be used by our government to help improve society in a number of different ways, like helping the victims and their families or increasing support and funding for mental health organizations.  

All in all, ask yourself what the benefit of capital punishment is.

Does it undo the wrong that has already been done? No.

Does it save us money? Again, no.

So, how can we claim, as a nation, to be a place of freedom and peace, when we have such a disgusting and lazy way of dealing with our crimes? I believe we need to join the other 100-150 countries in our world and get rid of this outdated concept.

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