The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it.Amnesty International
No matter the crime or what method of execution is used, the right to not be murdered by the state is a basic and fundamental human right. Amnesty International tracked a minimum of 483 executions in 18 countries in 2020, down from at least 657 in 2019. This is the lowest number of executions that AI has recorded in at least a decade.
The number of executions in China are unknown as executions are highly classified government information; thus this number of 483 excludes the potentially thousands of executions believed to have happened in China in 2020.
State-sanctioned murder disproportionately effects poor and racialized people. As a percentage of the population, socioeconomically disadvantaged people are more likely to receive a death sentence than those who have the funds to afford investigators, private labs, psychiatrists, and other resources to actively refute or mitigate the state’s case against them.
The threat of the death penalty doesn’t lower murder rates. There is no social science research that shows the threat of execution as preventing one single murder. As most murders are committed by people who are known to each other, and are so-called “crimes of passion”, most murderers aren’t thinking about the consquences of their actions in the moment. Whether the punishment is death or life imprisonment, it doesn’t matter.
US states that have abolished capital punishment have seen very little change in their murder rates, or even the overall crime rate. Serial predators give little to no thought to the consequences of their crimes because they have no intention of getting caught. They often select their victims to make sure their crimes will not be linked to them. State-supported murder doesn’t do anything to make our communities safer from dangerous individuals.
Innocent people have been executed. Capital punishment is the one criminal sentence that can’t be overturned or compensated for. The risk of killing an innocent person is never zero. One-hundred-eighty plus people have been exonerated or otherwise freed from death row in the United States of America since 1973. That’s an average of 4 people a year for 43 years. Many people have been executed even when their guilt is in question or to later find that the “science” that convicted them is suspect or was a lie. Overturned convictions continue to this day by DNA exonerations, when it’s revealed that the person pleaded guilty after false or coerced confessions, or simply because of incompetent and ineffective (usually state-appointed) counsel.
Ninety-nine percent of people who are in prison for *whatever* could be sorted out with better life circumstances, and the 1% need to be warehoused until they die.
I believe killers, rapists, and molesters are made by the toxic society we live in and if we give parents the best shot they can at raising good kids; interpersonal violence, gangs, drugs, and the need for other people’s property will eventually go away. But it’s not a quick fix, so no one gives a shit. I’m also a prison abolitionist for these reasons.
Capital Punishment is the State Killing People Because They Killed People to Show Other People That Killing People Is WrongUnknown
Some light reading for you: