The Death Penalty In Just Mercy By Bryan Stevenson

Improved Essays
Death Penalty
The Death penalty is a highly controversial topic in present day politics. The public is concerned with how America’s most dangerous criminals are held responsible for their crimes as well as how they will be kept from harming others. It’s reasonable to want a mass murderer to be punished in a manner that removes further threat, but is it our place to decide if his or her life should be ended? In other words, is it moral for society to prescribe murder as retribution for murder? We are often taught as children that two wrongs don’t make a right. In the same context, we would not rape someone because they have raped (although, sadly, this can be an unintended consequence of incarceration). What then, I ask, makes execution any
…show more content…
The death penalty is unfitting for the American justice system because of its lack of accuracy and lack of mercy. There are so many ways people are treated with privilege or discrimination based on their abilities, culture, gender or gender expression, mental stability, intelligence, race, religion, sexuality, wealth, where they live, etc. Human beings, as well as trials, are imperfect - even without these prejudices. Mistakes can be made, and often misrepresentation in court can lead to an innocent person on death row. For not being one hundred percent certain of innocence or guilt, it’s not up to humans to decide on a terminal punishment such as death. As Stevenson says, “The death penalty is not about whether people deserve to die for the crimes they commit. The real question of capital punishment in this country is, Do we deserve to …show more content…
The innocence of a mass murderer who kills in broad daylight isn’t even a question, but should he or she be put to death? Many believe yes. It is a way for families of the victim(s) to get closure and for society to feel safe. But, Stevenson reminds us that “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” It might seem unlikely that we are similar to a criminal, especially violent offenders who commit terrible crimes, but because we are human we probably have more in common than not. This awareness is the root of mercy. Criminals are just like everyone else in the way they make mistakes. What’s different about criminals who are held accountable for their crimes (and there are many criminals – especially on Wall Street – who are not held accountable) is that society defines criminals by their worst mistakes. Our worst actions should not define who we are. Although it makes sense for safety reasons that violent offenders are incarcerated, we should make incarceration more humane. As Robert A. Heinlein asks about the death penalty, “Under what circumstances is it moral for a group to do that which is not moral for a member of that group to do alone?” We pride ourselves that we live in the Land of the Free, and yet our incarceration rate and reliance on capital punishment tell a different story. It’s time to try more mercy for a

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    But a number of people are still against the death penalty for moral reasons, even though, it would bring them safety. In Stanley Marcus’s article, “Public Safety Requires the Death Penalty” Marcus questions convicted murderers about their crimes, “they had no hesitation in killing again and again because they were subject to no more severe punishment than if they were convicted of robbery - and often even less.” (New York Times Article Marcus). We need capital punishment to frighten criminals and to get rid of them when they do wrong. Clearly, these criminals have no morals about killing, so why should we risk our safety to keep them alive? The convicted killers even admitted that they had no hesitation in killing the first time and they would have no hesitation killing again.…

    • 1122 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Modern Capital Punishment

    • 1058 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The proponents argue that if the law was just left to be open and allow the criminals to be treated equal then, it will be very dangerous to the public (Masur,1989). The main aim of the death penalty and capital punishment is to detain dangerous criminals so we could deter them from joining the public again and prevent them from spreading criminal offense again. While Beccaria’s stance could be said true, how do we explain criminals’ behavior after they are released? We could even go as far as saying when a person is incarcerated, they often worsen in their psychological condition. Often times those who have a record of imprisonment are praised for “serving time” and continue on in their dysfunctional behavior that in turn has a detrimental effect on society.…

    • 1058 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Hypocritical Death Penalty

    • 1278 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Just to think that prison is like hell on earth due to the matter prisoners are faced with being gang-raped, castrated, beaten to death, stabbed, and sometimes even beheaded before correctional officers whom may turn a blind eye to what’s going on in there. [4] Capital punishment Is capital punishment the best answer? If murders have the power to take a victim’s right to live away, then the criminal justice system should have the same power to correct the deficiency by taking the criminal’s life. [4] Human life has no price tag on it. Some critics whom are against capital punishment believe that life is so precious that even the worst criminal’s life should not be taken.…

    • 1278 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    They seem to believe in an eye for an eye justice. However, in my opinion, killing people can never be a humane act. Besides this, it is not always certain that all the convicted criminals are actually guilty. Some innocent people might get executed for the crimes they never did due to lack of proper evidences. If life imprisonment is practiced instead of the death penalty, such innocent people can be freed whenever their innocence is…

    • 1902 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    There is no room for vengeance and a revenge stance in our justice system. The arguing stance for the death penalty says it deters murders, but in reality, the death penalty just leads to another loss of human life - regardless of the murder being an execution. When somebody tortures another human being, the government does not decide to torture that person in return. It’s the same for a rapist; the government does not rape the rapist. So, why does the government decide to murder the murderer?…

    • 1393 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He stands firm on his first argument, saying that the death penalty is not only the best but the only deterrent to crime. Ernest says the objection of life imprisonment is a light slap on the wrist and is not geared enough. Imprisonment only gives murderers more time to plot and scheme it does not change other criminal minds about making the same mistake. Some opponents of Haag stand argue that people have a right to life and morally we should not use capital punishment. An objection that Haag uses is that the right to life is forfeited if the crime that is broken is severe enough.…

    • 1380 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The system doesn’t require treating those guilty of barbaric crimes barbarically. Proportionality principle can play a role in our thinking about punishments; again it doesn’t help with death penalty advocates. Out of all these main beliefs they all fail to reveal a distinguished supporting system with the death penalty. Could we just abolish the death penalty and not worry about it at all. Stephen reclaims that we as humans have respect for human dignity, we can punish people for their crimes but we can’t deprive them of everything, which the death penalty does.…

    • 1274 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Death Penalty Pros

    • 708 Words
    • 3 Pages

    This has happened before in the criminal justice system. I am a kind of person that believes that no one deserves to die but if a person takes an innocents life I do believe that they deserve to suffer. I do not think it is right to take another person’s life! Honestly, I think that the death penalty is kind of the easy way out for some criminals because really who wants to spend the rest of their life in prison? Some criminals end up regretting what they did but others do not even begin to feel sorry for what they did.…

    • 708 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Imposing The Death Penalty

    • 1304 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Capital punishment can be a tough topic to discuss because people tend to have extreme views and opinions on it. The death penalty is a quality to society; it prevents possible criminals as well as serves revenge to criminals, and is in no way depraved. The arguments contrary to the death penalty regularly do not hold up when examined more thoroughly. It is vital that everyone is united on this subject, rather than having some states practice capital punishment while others do not. The death penalty can be a beneficial tool in sentencing criminals that have committed some of the nastiest crimes known to society.…

    • 1304 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    However, if the just punishment for the crime is the death penalty, the executioner and those involved in the conviction could still be considered virtuous because they are being just. Inevitably, there are going to be contradictions when it comes to virtues, which is one of the faults of virtue ethics. Even so, there is reason that capital punishment might be morally acceptable in specific cases probably involving…

    • 1641 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays