Death comes with a Price


Guadalupe Gonzalez (9th), Reporter

Capital punishment has been a debatable subject since it was reintroduced in the U.S. in between 1972 and 1976. Since then, many arguments have been made for and against the death penalty.


People oftentimes believe capital punishment is inexpensive compared to keeping a criminal in prison for the rest of their natural life; at first glance it makes sense, as the prisoner would need food and healthcare provided to them for their whole life-without-parole sentence. Healthcare and food for life costs have no comparison to the amount of money spent on someone on death row.


Due to the lengthiness of legally determining whether someone should be sentenced to the death penalty can include incarceration (the extra security needed for the prisoner in their holding cell), appeals (raising the persecution from a lower court to a higher court) as well as a higher cost for jurors and others involved. Trials and other factors cost more due to the increased length of trials and other things due to the fact a human life is on the line. Overall, costliness of the death penalty can very easily be a reason to stop putting it to use.


Moral questionability is likely one of the most common arguments made for and against capital punishment. While discussing whether or not the death penalty should be dismissed or not, a former student at Pitman High School, Victoria Gonzalez, looked at the moral argument against capital punishment.


Gonzalez played devil’s advocate, “It’s an inhumane process, a person should die naturally” as well as “Human life shouldn’t have a price to it… [it’s like] they are animals that should be put down.” These statements are subjective and pertain to morals, and as for the comparison to putting down humans as though they are animals could easily be countered with “…but I think they are animals that need to be put down…they lost their rights because of their actions.”


Another argument against capital punishment that doesn’t hold very much weight is regarding the people who do get sentenced to death. People talk about the percent of innocent individuals sentenced to death as well as the ratio of black people with white victims. These instances, while unjust, aren’t due to capital punishment. The injustice is on the fault of the U.S. justice system more so than the death penalty itself. Even if the death penalty were dismissed, these racial injustices will just occur elsewhere.


There are more technical reasons to dismiss capital punishment than just morality and faults of the legal system, such as financial reasons. The financial cost of the death penalty is enough reason to let a criminal spend life in prison rather than the death penalty.