Home Social Justice Featured Blog: Is it time to abolish the death penalty globally?

Featured Blog: Is it time to abolish the death penalty globally?

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With the death penalty slowly becoming a lost issue in the presidential election but still being a prominent issue in state government, many feel that it’s time for the federal government to finish it off.

It has become apparent that what needs to happen is a discussion about the issue on a global scale, as the U.S. is not alone in using the death penalty. Capital punishment is a long-lasting idea indoctrinated into some countries’ histories, which leads to those who commit the most severe crimes to be put to execution.

The U.S. has been known for being a hegemonic country that still uses capital punishment as a viable deterrent to crime. But with an increasing amount of states establishing a moratorium, could it possibly become abolished?

In 2015 alone, there have been 24 executions, which can be seen as a substantial amount for the year thus far. Many have argued that the death penalty actually costs the state more because many prisoners are put on death row, which can lead to overcrowding.

What has become evident is the fact that some of those sent to death row may be innocent and be imprisoned due to callous judges or investigators doing a poor job. According to Amnesty International, since 1973, 150 U.S. prisoners have been exonerated after being sent to death row.

So maybe it’s time for abolishment, as many citizens are becoming fed up with capital punishment, and many states have abolished it completely. U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer are trying to head the discussion about whether capital punishment is a violation of the Constitution. In the U.S., the discussion of abolishing capital punishment is well ahead.

But capital punishment isn’t only happening in the U.S.; it is happening in countries across the globe. Amnesty International claims the ‘top’ three executing countries are China, Iran and Iraq, with many prisoners being tried unfairly.

In 2014, there were 607 executions globally, which is a 22 percent decrease since 2013. But countries like China, Vietnam and North Korea have kept their numbers secret. The data is classified, so we can never be sure how many people are being executed. Other countries in Asia, like Saudi Arabia, have strict laws, many based on religion that can be punishable by beheading, including adultery or desertion of one’s religious or political beliefs.

But on the global scale, the U.S. is still up there with the most prolific countries, as many countries use the U.S. as justification for their ways. With numbers in the U.S. looking low compared to this, what are governments in other countries doing about capital punishment?

In 2014, China decided to cut nine crimes that would lead to execution, thus decreasing execution numbers greatly. But some countries’ governments haven’t tried reform, as they don’t feel the need to; countries like Iran still have legal capital punishment and have claimed to have killed juveniles.

So we must consider the question of whether we should abolish capital punishment. In the U.S., it seems to be an emerging idea at the forefront of state government minds as well as the Supreme Court. However, some countries still see capital punishment as a necessity to deter people from crime. But is it truly a deterrence if the execution rates are still so high?

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