Capital Punishment – Term Paper

Essay on Capital Punishment

In my personal opinion, it is better for a criminal to be executed rather than confining him or her for life. This is because of the additional costs associated with such confinement. I presume that keeping a prisoner on life imprisonment might result to years of appeal. Such an individual has the right of appeal and given that the prisoner is defending himself against the state, the state has the role of hiring public prosecutors to prove that the person is actually guilty of the offense. In addition, if the person is found guilty, the state incurs the costs of maintaining the life including attributes such as food, health, clothing and education. On the other hand, I find capital punishment to be less costly as the moment the life of that person is terminated there are no additional costs in regards to administration of justice and associated direct costs of life sustenance. I know of cases where aging prisoners become a burden to the state because of deteriorating health. If these people could be executed, then the government cannot incur these costs.

In regards to the second issue of the number of people innocently executed by the state, I assume that there is a certain percentage of innocent people executed for the wrongs that they did not commit. This is because there is possibility of biasness during the collection of evidence. For instance, during the collection of forensic evidence in case of murder, fingerprints or other DNA samples found at the crime scene are not adequate to prove that the person committed crime. In addition, there are circumstances where the criminal history of the accused may introduce biasness in prosecution even when that person did not actually commit the offense. However, it is difficult to establish the actual number of prisoners executed by the state without committing the offense because of other factors such as timing and the nature of the case.

Capital Punishment for and against Essay

According to numerous studies, death penalty or capital punishment is more expensive when compared to life without parole. The constitution needs complex and long judicial processes in the case of capital punishment. These sophisticated judicial processes are important in ensuring no innocent person is executed for the crimes not committed. In California, approximately 3500 people have been executed by the Department of Justice in the state since 1978. Based on the data available, it costs the taxpayers $90000 more per every person executed when compared to regular confinement every year. Since the reinstatement of capital punishment, the state government has incurred $4 billion (approximately over $300 million for every 13 executions). On the other hand, a population of 670 inmates under the death row incurs around $63.3 million every year (DPF, 2016). The cost system imposing a lifetime confinement shows that state would incur $11.5 million every year if capital punishment was eliminated (DPF, 2016). According to a report by the Director of State Office of Public Defense in Washington, two attorneys are entitled to a death penalty defendant and the total costs are $1028700 more than life imprisonment (Wash, 2011). These costs are inclusive of court costs, trial attorneys, petitions under Habeas Corpus and personal restraint excluding other petitions.

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The number of people executed innocently is difficult to determine. This is because there is no standard method of determining if the conviction just, preventing the death of innocent accusations. However, there some exonerations taking place, being the basis of wrong executions. In the state of Michigan, 7482 people were executed from 1973 to 2004. Among this group 107 exonerations took place for prisoners awaiting execution, and 117 exonerations took place during the three decades (Lopatto, 2014). If the trends from 1973 to 1995 hold, it has been found that approximately two thirds of the prisoners will have their execution overturned. With little change in the advent of DNA identification, out of 142 exonerations, 18 took place in the state of Michigan. However, there are difficulties in examination the total number of innocent prisoners executed by the states governments. Even if the available data is not accurate in regards to this number, if the number on death row to those executed are innocent, then approximately 4% of the prisoners during the last three and half decades were innocently executed (Levy, 2014).

Arguments for Capital Punishment Essay

A comparison of the assumptions and facts in regards to the issues show some differences and similarities. In relation to the cost of capital punishment and life imprisonment, my assumptions are different from the facts because capital punishment is more expensive than life imprisonment. On the other hand, my assumption on the second issue aligns with the facts provided because it is difficult to estimate the total number prisoners innocently executed in the past given the potential biases. I was surprised by the costs of capital punishment in the two scenarios provided. Personally, even if the costs of the two punishments existed, it was astonishing to find that this difference in some cases exceed $1 million per every execution. Making rational and moral judgment depends on information, cognitive abilities and time. However, these resources are limited and our knowledge is not perfect. In the case above, any person, assuming that capital punishment is less expensive would be ignoring many facts especially relating to the judicial process. Therefore, it is possible to formulate and establish wrong policies without adequate facts about the issue under context. Facts are applicable cognitive tools important when probabilities, consequences and alternatives are unknown. As a result, it is important to make moral judgment by exploiting all the available facts and information regardless of the issue being discussed.


DPF, D. (2016). Death Penalty Focus : The High Cost of the Death Retrieved 11 September 2016, from

Levy, P. (2014). One in 25 Sentenced to Death in the U.S. Is InnocentNewsweek. Retrieved 11 September 2016, from

Lopatto, E. (2014). Forbes Retrieved 11 September 2016, from

Wash, Y. (2011). What costs more the death penalty or life in prison? Retrieved 11 September 2016, from