Recent polls indicate that the death penalty’s popularity is sinking with Titanic-like inevitability. A recent Pew Research Center poll shows that public support for the death penalty is at a near-historic low, with only 56% supporting it. A poll by ABC News and the Washington Post found that 52% of Americans preferred life without parole as the main punishment, and 42% preferred the death penalty, down from 80% in 1994.
Traditional reasons to support the death penalty are going the same way as conventional wisdom for denying same-sex marriage and gender equality. Some will talk about how justice demands the death penalty, and some will say that the only way to enforce the sanctity of human life is by executing those who recklessly and arrogantly take it away. Some will argue that it protects innocent lives, others that it brings closure to victims’ families. Some will offer personal tales of loss. These are all heartfelt points, but ultimately they are simply wrong in terms of doing what is best for society.
I – Word Understanding
parole – early release of a prisoner
sanctity – ultimate importance
II – Have Your Say
Why abolish death penalty?
1. Studies show that the death penalty is more expensive than the alternative, life without parole.
2. There’s a high probability that we execute innocent people. A study concluded that about 1 in every 25 of people sentenced to death are innocent.
3. The system is biased based on race and economic standing. According to a study, a black defendant is four times more likely to receive a death sentence than a white defendant for a similar crime.