I am ardently opposed to capital punishment for a variety of reasons, as discussed below:

1. It is morally wrong to kill a human, except in self defense
First and foremost, i believe it is wrong to kill a human except for in self defense. Given that belief, it seems to me that capital punishment is the pinnacle of wrongful killing, since it is by definition the killing of a person who is physically restrained and not an imminent threat to anyone, and already convicted and removed from society, therefore not a likely threat in the future. Making matters worse, the condemned is not being killed by a single, emotional human who “snapped,” but by the deliberate, cold, and calculating machinery of the State. That cold blooded killing on the part of the Governmental strikes me as particularly wrong, give the fact that our legal system sees murders committed in cold blood to be worse than murders committed in the “heat of passion.”

2. Capital punishment sets a bad example for all of society, including the children
It seems hypocritical for the State to prohibit its citizens from killing except in self defense, and then to simultaneously authorize the killing of people who pose no imminent threat, and who can be imprisoned for life to prevent any future threat. That sends a double message, that I believe can lead to violence on the parts of children and even adults. On the part of children, it may cause them to believe that physical violence is warranted in any situation other than self defense. On the part of adults, it may lead to that similar belief, or perhaps worse, a subconscious belief that violence is somehow morally right, given the fact that it is sanctioned by our Government.

3. Capital punishment is racist in its application
Study after study has shown that the death penalty is applied in a racist manner. Minorities are more likely to be sentenced to die than white people, even when the other factors are accounted for. Given this fact, and the limited to non-existent benefits of capital punishment, I don’t think that we as a society can justify continuing this racist practice.

4. Capital punishment can’t be justified the way other punishments can be justified
Other punishment, such as imprisonment, can generally be justified as a means to prevent future crimes. A criminal who is imprisoned is generally prevented from committing another crime during his incarceration. Capital punishment does not do a better job of either punishing a criminal, or of stopping them from committing a crime in the future. From the punishment perspective, a criminal who is dead can no longer be punished, and is not able to come to the conclusion that their crime was a wrong they should regret. A criminal who is held in a secure prison for life is stopped from committing crimes just as well as an executed criminal. The death penalty just doesn’t do a better job of either punishing or preventing crime, than could be accomplished with lifetime imprisonment.

5. Those later found to be innocent can’t be brought back to life
Perhaps most tragic are the cases of people proven to be innocent, after they have already been executed. For these innocent people and their families, there is no way of even beginning to make things right. At least an innocent person who was wrongfully jailed can be released, apologized to, compensated financially, and given a chance to try and resume their life. An executed person cannot, and their family is left with the realization that the state has killed a loved one, while the true criminal walks free. Even the prosecution witnesses may be emotionally scared for life, knowing that their testimony helped to kill an innocent person. Given this horrible outcome, I am again unable to find a justification for the capital punishment, given the limited if non-existent benefits to society of executing people.
Also, for those who think this is not a frequent event: Sadly, it is not that rare for the innocent to be convicted of horrendous murders, as one county in Texas has freed 26 death row inmates after they were exonerated. Even more horrific is the realization that many murders don’t have DNA evidence that could be tested to exonerate the condemned, or that this evidence has since been thrown away.

6. Capital punishment is too expensive
The fact is, the death penalty costs more than imprisoning a criminal for life. This is primarily due to the more rigorous appeals process. Given the limited to non-existent benefits of capital punishment, I don’t see how the death penalty can be justified from a financial standpoint.

7. Capital punishment doesn’t deter crime
Data indicates that capital punishment does not deter crime, and crime rates in the US are higher than most countries that have abolished the death penalty. Simply put, criminals commit crimes because they think they will get away with the crime. Worse yet are the criminals who are addicted to and using drugs, who are not in the state of mind that they are amenable to reason or concern over being caught. Then there are the criminals who simply don’t care if they are caught, often the ones who will commit murder and then suicide in a mass shooting.