Death Penalty

     Thousands will die. They are victims of senseless murder, but should the
murderous felons die as well? Capital Punishment is a major controversy.

Debating whether they receive execution or spend the rest of their ruined lives
rotting in a jail cell seems pointless. The government throws away these
humanís lives. We control the lives of these criminals and we should not waste
them. We should use the thousands of them to better our society. Rather than
capital punishment, the government should create work teams using death row
criminals to better our communities. The death penalty has been debated since
the beginning of humankind. Today a total of 94 countries and territories use
the death penalty for ordinary crime, including the United States. In the other

57 countries in the world, the death penalty no longer exists. In some of the 57
countries, capital punishment is only banned for ordinary crimes and still
effective for military crimes or crimes committed in exceptional circumstances
such as wartime (Doan, 2). Currently 34 of the states in the U.S. exercise
capital punishment. The most recent to abolish capital punishment was

Massachusetts, in 1984, and New York, in 1995, was the most recent to reinstate
it, according to the NAACP. During 1977 and 1994, Texas executed the highest
number of prisoners, a total of 85. As of 1996 there were 3,122 inmates on death
row. These convicts could help with government labor with a hope that they might
be free someday. Figures show that, with men, 80% decide in favor of the death
penalty, and women the vote was 74%.. White populations vote 81% for capital
punishment and blacks only 53% (Doan, 2). This information means that the
general public will resolve to end the lives of these killers. By offering an
alternative, these figures may alter themselves significantly. Those opposing
the death penalty would obtain some level of satisfaction with a work program
for death row inmates. "More often than not, families of murder victims do not
experience the relief they expected to feel at the execution, says Lula Redmond,
a Florida therapist." ( Brownlee 28). "The United States is the execution
capital of the world. Now isnít that something to be proud of?" Katie

Kondrat asks sarcastically in "The Death Penalty a Just Punishment?". "A
killer who is killed can not kill again, but a killer in jail until he dies also
canít kill." The well known argument against capital punishment remains as
the morality issue. Some say killing the murderer will not bring the victim back
to life. The U.S. needs a plan that will not execute but use the remaining
lifetimes in a positive manner. The common argument for capital punishment is
that it saves tax dollars, it decreases prison overcrowding and provides equal
justice. With the proposed plan, the government would save millions on not
having to hire road crews and other manual labor task forces. The monies
generated by the work provided should solve the prison crowding issue by freeing
up more funds to build and staff bigger prisons. "Without severe punishment
the justice system says that a murdererís life is more important than the
victimís." says Connie Sun in contrasting part of "The Death Penalty a

Just Punishment?". A lifetime of service to the victim and his family may be
viewed as equal justice. What the Bible has to say about capital punishment
affects peoples view on it. The whole issue seems to stem from ideas of
morality. "Men presume to claim things that are Godís alone. They even want
to decide over the life and death of people and nations," says Eberhard

Arnold. "They forget that it is the Lord who kills and makes alive." (

Bruderhof 2). The New Testament is based on forgiveness. "Father forgive them;
for they know not what they do," states Luke 23:34 of the New Testament. The

Bible also contains the Ten Commandments, one of which states , "Thou shalt
not kill". From a Biblical standpoint, capital punishment remains unacceptable
to its followers. This is a strong argument for constructively using the life of
one who has killed by not repeating the same act twice. It contains an element
of forgiveness while still making the offender confess to the misery he has
caused others. We should make use of the murderers on death row. Punishment
should not come as three minutes of minimal physical and mental pain as in
execution. These killers should have to live with their guilt, and also do more
than eat up money from the government. The murderers would do such jobs as clear
roadway paths and clean up garbage. They would not be paid, they would be housed
and fed in the jails, and work in a organized "chain gang." The usual prison
guards will watch over the workers. One argument against this says that some
criminals would commit suicide. This argument is not logical since the workers
would die anyway, either by execution or deteriorating in jail. The criminals
might refuse to work because they possess a death sentence in execution, or life
in jail. As enticement, the felons will receive parole after a minimum of 20
years of service and extensive rehabilitation depending on the severity of their
crimes. Allowing parole will encourage hard work and commitment. The process of
training, organizing and disaplining these people will help the state government
to clean up roadways, dig sewer trenches, and make parks. The murderers will
work without pay and be kept in the prisons. The idea is beneficial to the
people and the budget because of the cheap manual labor. The government should
apprentice death row criminals rather than have them executed. Whether a man
should die now or die later should not be the focus of the capital punishment
debate. Working the death row prisoners to better communities and providing them
with counseling, food, and shelter is a logical, and deserving alternative to
capital punishment. Death row murderers owe the United States citzens whose
lives they have altered so permanently.

Bibliography

Brownlee, Shannon, et al. "The place for Vengence." U.S. News & World

Report 16 June 1997: 24-32 Bruderhof Foundation. "What Others Say About the

Death Penalty." http://www.bruderhof.org/issues/deathpen/thoughts/quotes.htm

1997 Doan, Brian. " Death Penalty Policy, Statistics, and Public Opinion."

Focus Spring 1997: 2 Kondrat, Katie. "Death Penalty a Just Punishment?" 8

March, 1996 http://www-scf. edu/~mweaver/pa...5/iss6/editorial/faceoff.6.45.html