The Debate of Maintaining or Abolishing the Use of the Death Penalty


Over the years, the debate of maintaining or abolishing the law permitting the criminal justice system to use the death penalty as a form of punishment for crimes such as murder has raised several questions. The public is divided about the issue as some are against the act describing it as inhuman, while the other section supports it, citing its effectiveness in lowering the rate of criminality in the country. The study explores both sides of the argument, referring to various researches conducted previously to draw sufficient understanding. Based on the findings, the discussion presents relevant sides of the story worth examination. It is important to evaluate both sides accordingly to develop a broad perspective of the matter. Factors such as racial discrimination, limited trust, wrongful verdict, and fundamentalism perspective provide a varied viewpoint on the matter.


The criminal justice system of various countries, including the US, has formulated different laws and regulations that consider issuing the death penalty to offenders who have committed capital offenses. Based on this approach, several inmates have been subjected to corporal punishment following the intensity and nature of their crimes over the past years. Despite the rulings that grant the practice, the act has created different opinions amongst the public. Some group of individuals believes and supports the stance citing its effectiveness in streamlining and reducing capital offenses. However, the other category of people is against the approach claiming that the basis and the ground under which judges base their verdict is unfair, thus leading to the loss of innocent lives. Imposing death penalty on serious offenders can lower the rate of criminality; however, the jurors’ verdicts are influenced by factors, such as racial discrimination, making it unjust practice worth abolition from the law.

Main body

The decisions of justices issuing capital sentences are generally influenced by aspects such as religious beliefs but not the weight of the offense committed. Most judges base their viewpoint on the fundamentalism perspective when evaluating and interpreting court cases. The notion creates a strict, precise clarification of the issue from the biblical standpoint. According to Yelderman et al. (2019), the fundamentalism ideology maintains that some offenses, such as murder and arson are punishable by severe measures with same intensity as the crime. Since the majority of American jurors are fundamentalists, their ruling are significantly influenced by the fundamentalism concept hence making them value capital sentencing. The people who support the model argue that humanity and religion are inseparable; therefore, complying with conditions subjected is mandatory and considered normal. Furthermore, the fundamentalists perceive religious texts as a form of lawful documents provided by the maker to the people to facilitate fairness and overall life management amongst humans. Therefore, fundamentalism encourages harsher punishment for the people who have committed the severe offense because it does not easily endorse mitigating evidence.

Generally, members of the public support death penalty due to mistrust of the government and the criminal justice system. According to the work of Kort-Butler and Ray (2019), the limited trust people have in the law enforcement agency makes them support capital punishment as a way of receiving immediate revenge and restoration of order in the system. Furthermore, several countries embrace the practice due to the fact that the majority of the public is in favor of the act. However, the cause of peoples’ support is the fear inflicted on them by the authority. Based on the authors’ argument, the communities with a well-structured and functional criminal justice system possess significant respect for human life; hence the aspect of corporal punishment is limited. The perception of pro capital punishment is that offenders who commit severe crimes deserve the same treatment. The group believes in the notion of ‘tit for tat’ (Kort-Butler & Ray, 2019). This philosophy renders the public senseless and more opinionated in their perspective on the idea of the death penalty.

Corporal punishment promotes systemic racism by victimizing minorities while protecting their haves. According to Johnson’s (2020) study, most death penalties in the US go to the minority groups such as African Americans and Latinos. Based on the survey, the judges are more determined to issue court rulings in cases involving people of race. For instance, when a crime committed involves a Latino as the defendant and a white individual as the victim, the likelihood of the Latino receiving capital punishment is higher than if the accused person was white. However, when the victim is African American and the respondent is a white person, the court ruling is less likely to impose corporal punishment. The research indicates that about 70% of minority defendants are executed when victims are white, and 15% of white offenders are subjected to death when people of color are victims (Johnson, 2020). Therefore, the ethnicity-of-victim and ethnicity-of-defendant do not favor the people of color when faced by the death penalty. In this perspective, race is used as a determinant, making the practice unjust and worth abolishing.

Biased justice systems lead to the killing of many innocent suspects sentenced through wrongful conviction. Generally, a significant percentage of receivers of capital punishment are wrongfully convicted by the criminal justice system (Wu, 2021). According to the research study conducted by Wu (2021), adequate knowledge and understanding of the public about wrongful convictions has imperative weight in influencing their stance on the death penalty. For instance, a wrongful conviction, such as the case of Carlos DeLuna in Texas, which is believed to be wrongfully executed in 1989, will change the notion of encouraging corporal sentencing. A lack of information makes some people have irrational viewpoints concerning sensitive matters. Furthermore, the pro-death penalty believes that the criminal justice system performs rigorous activities; hence the chances of having a wrongful verdict are negligible. However, lack of evidence makes suspected offenders to be executed. Therefore, the likelihood of killing an innocent person is high which is not appropriate.


In summary, the public should understand that the criminal justice system is not perfect, and the act of capital punishment may violate innocent people’s rights. It is essential to give equal weight to both groups of people with different perspective concerning the narrative of the death penalty. However, based on past research, some evidence connects capital sentencing to an individual’s race. Similarly, the possibility of wrongful conviction is an issue of consideration in the aspect of using the death penalty to curb severe criminal activities. The religious belief of the prosecutors presents a different viewpoint on corporal punishment. Jurors who follow strict teachings of the scripture perceive the act as appropriate. Lastly, the fear and limited trust in the government and the law enforcement body prompts the public to support the use of capital sentencing.


Johnson, S. L. (2020). The influence of Latino ethnicity on the imposition of the death penalty. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 16, 421-431. Web.

Kort-Butler, L. A., & Ray, C. M. (2019). Public support for the death penalty in a red state: The distrustful, the angry, and the unsure. Punishment & Society, 21(4), 473-495. Web.

Wu, S. (2021). The effect of wrongful conviction rate on death penalty support: A research note. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 1-14. Web.

Yelderman, L. A., West, M. P., & Miller, M. K. (2019). Death penalty decision‐making: Fundamentalist beliefs and evaluating aggravating and mitigating circumstances. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 24(1), 103-122. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


DemoEssays. (2023, April 6). The Debate of Maintaining or Abolishing the Use of the Death Penalty. Retrieved from


DemoEssays. (2023, April 6). The Debate of Maintaining or Abolishing the Use of the Death Penalty.

Work Cited

"The Debate of Maintaining or Abolishing the Use of the Death Penalty." DemoEssays, 6 Apr. 2023,


DemoEssays. (2023) 'The Debate of Maintaining or Abolishing the Use of the Death Penalty'. 6 April.


DemoEssays. 2023. "The Debate of Maintaining or Abolishing the Use of the Death Penalty." April 6, 2023.

1. DemoEssays. "The Debate of Maintaining or Abolishing the Use of the Death Penalty." April 6, 2023.


DemoEssays. "The Debate of Maintaining or Abolishing the Use of the Death Penalty." April 6, 2023.