Dressler 1 Reading and Writing Across the Corriculum Paper #2 Christine Cusick and Jenny Bangsund 9/28/2000 Capital Punishment; the Economical Solution Most of those who have been condemned to spend the rest of their lives in prisons do not use their time constructively to benefit society. Because of this, perhaps one should consider whether or not American taxpayers are wasting their money by supporting them there. Capital punishment may be the most proper and economically efficient method of reducing what taxpayers pay by ridding prisons of those so hateful, so corrupt, and so evil that they were sentenced to spend the remainder of their lives confined and away from any further harming others. If those imprisoned can no longer contribute to the good of society, then perhaps the money is not being spent appropriately. Despite what the criminal has done, most of those who oppose the death penalty genuinely feel that it is an unethical solution; to do harm in return for harm done. After all, does any human being have the right to take the life of another? Many believe that the death penalty is simply violating the very sanctity of the miracle of life by brutally destroying it. But on the other hand, it should also be considered that the criminal did not have the right to take the life of another. Perhaps, because the criminal has had no respect for life, they deserve the same treatment that they inflicted upon their victim by being denied of what they disrespect. Because of this, many feel that an eye for an eye approach is necessary to avenge the harms and deaths such prisoners have inflicted upon Dressler 2 society. Also, if one attempts to sympathize with the suffering loved ones, they will soon realize that the sufferers are being dishonored when the killer of the one they loved is allowed to live as a reminder of their most horrible pains? A common argument opposing the death penalty is that it does not serve as an effective deterrent to crime. Their view is that most criminals are not considering the consequences of their actions as they are actually committing the crime, and even those that are conscious of them, would still continue anyway out of rage, determination, revenge, or apathy towards their own life. This is an excellent point, and because of this, the death penalty probably should not be implement merely as a deterrent to crime, but instead as a solution to desperate overpopulated prisons and the angry taxpayers who realize they are paying for a murderer’s food. The only effective methods of deterring crime are probably those rightfully forbidden by the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects those who have potentially been wrongfully convicted criminals from being subjected to cruel and unusual forms of punishment, such as public humiliation and torture. And so, deterring crime through the death penalty is not a primary reason for its use. Another opposition to capital punishment is that the money spent to execute someone is far more than that paid to sustain their life in prison. This, however, is highly debatable. When a person is sentenced to life in prison, the legal fees used to make this verdict are added to the costs that support the criminal’s life in prison. These, at first, appear to include food, water, clothes, soap, toothbrushes, medicines and many other obvious necessities. However, the truly expensive costs are the salaries of the cooks who cook their food, the truck drivers who supply the food, clothes, soap, toothbrushes and Dressler 3 medicines, the 24-hour guards who must guard their cell, the doctors who diagnose their diseases, the surgeons who remove their appendixes, the dentists who fix their cavities, and the maintenance engineers who repair their broken utilities. And then there are also the heaping amounts of money needed to keep each prison functioning; property taxes, electric bills, water bills, trash collection bills, insurance bills, and the list goes on and on. The money required to do this is obviously a substantial sum. The costs involved in an execution are significantly lower than that which sustains one’s remaining life in prison. It is basically the cost of the legal fees (which order the execution verdict) plus that of the execution itself. These costs include the supplies that kill the criminal, the renting out of the property used to execute the person, and the labor of the individuals who organize and act out the execution itself. When someone is ordered to be put to death, it appears logical that much more legal processing would take place to make such an important verdict because of so many appeals, and this means much more money would be required in legal fees. However, the extra money distributed here is to law-obeying people who are supporting themselves and perhaps a family by acting out our legal system, instead of being put toward the prisoner’s needs, as the case would be if the sentence were life in prison. If in fact the legal fees somehow outweigh sustaining one’s life in prison, they are helping law-obeying people instead of the criminals. If someone has committed a crime so evil that they cannot again be released back into society, then most admit that very harsh actions should be taken, but some even suggest that there is a better solution than the death penalty can offer; a more ethical, efficient, and constructive method of handling such prisoners. It would appear to be Dressler 4 advantageous if the government could condemn them to a life of slave labor as an alternative to the death penalty. The 13th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States confirms our ability to do this as it states that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. This amendment confirms the government’s authority to force prisoners to do manual simple tasks that few others wish to do. However, this may not be a brilliant idea because the un-rewarded prisoners would persistently refuse to work even if expensive guards and taskmasters were employed to maintain minimal production. Another reason why this should not be used as an alternative to capital punishment is because it still dishonors those who have suffered from the prisoner’s crime. If everyone who opposed the death penalty were to be asked; if it was their eight- year-old daughter who was kidnapped on their way to the bus stop and then taken to a basement where they were brutally tortured to death, which form of punishment would be most appropriate for the murderer, their honest response would be probably be murderer should be put to death. Although this scenario is quite rare, similar situations to the one previously mentioned have occurred before and will again. Therefore, in addition to being the most economically efficient method, it is also the one most capable of dealing with criminals that deserve to be in a prison for the rest of their lives. To take any other action appears to far too lenient and costly.