Life in Prison vs. the Death Penalty Essay

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Life in Prison vs. the Death Penalty Life in Prison vs. the Death Penalty The start of legal guidelines for society and prison systems dates back to as early as the development of the written language, roughly 1740 BC. The theory of the modern prison system came from London, as did the practice of putting criminals to death. The first recorded American execution was that of Captain George Kendall, for spying, in Virginia 1608 (McFeely, n.d.). In the 1800’s, over two hundred crimes were punishable by death. Although our country’s legal system has evolved greatly since that time, there continues to be great debate about the issues surrounding life in prison versus the death penalty. When we look at the death penalty system in action, many argue that the only purpose it serves is retribution or revenge. It is seriously flawed in application and there is a serious and continuing risk of executing innocent people. Over the years, one hundred thirty people on death row have been released with proof that they were wrongfully convicted. DNA evidence, available in less than ten percent of all homicides, cannot guarantee that we won’t execute innocent people (ACLUNC, 2013). If someone is convicted and later found to be innocent, you can release him from prison, but not bring them back from death. Others further argue that the death penalty isn't reserved for the worst crimes, but for defendants with the worst lawyers. It simply doesn't apply to people with money. Life without parole costs less than the death penalty (Marceau & Whitson, 2013). The death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison, mostly because of the upfront costs of the legal process which is supposed to prevent executions of innocent people. Many opponents of the death penalty argue that the millions of dollars saved by instituting life without parole could be used for education, drug and

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